Arsenal Shatters Champions League Records in Dominant Lens Victory
After losing to Lens 2-1 in the rematch last month, the Gunners went into their penultimate group game needing just a point to go to the knockout stages. As a result, they were cautious about the possible threat Lens may provide.
But Mikel Arteta’s team easily defeated Lens at home, leading 4–0 before the half hour thanks to goals from Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, and Gabriel Martinelli.
Arsenal’s four goals in the first 27 minutes of play are the fastest four goals an English team has ever scored in a Champions League match. This record is shared by Manchester United, who scored four goals in the same amount of time against Brondby in November 1998 to win the competition.
At the end of the half, Arsenal added a fifth goal thanks to a first-time volley from 12 yards by Martin Odegaard, making them the first English team to lead a Champions League match by five goals or more at the break.
Furthermore, in the first half of a Champions League encounter, the Gunners are the only team from any country in Europe to have as many as five different scorers (apart from own goals).
After the break, Arsenal kept up their dominance, but they had to wait until the 86th minute to add a sixth goal. That came from a well-executed penalty kick by substitute Jorginho, who scored after VAR determined that Abdukodir Khusanov had handled inside the area.
The most victories by an English club against a French opponent in European competition came from Arsenal’s crushing 6-0 victory.
The Gunners would have tied their biggest-ever Champions League victory of 7-0 against Slavia Prague in October 2007 if they had scored a seventh goal in the last minutes.
After the game, an ecstatic Arteta spoke with TNT Sports, saying, “Today was the day to get it done.” We executed it beautifully.
“In the first half, we scored five goals against a very strong team. One can grow quite careless. Additionally, there were instances of unusual behaviour in the second half, but we maintained our intense focus.”
“It’s great because the schedule we have at the moment is crazy,” the Spaniard said in response to a question about winning Group B with one game remaining. In just 72 hours, Wolves [in the Premier League] is already on our minds.
“We must hold one another to higher standards. For Wolves, we’ll need to be well-prepared.”
When Arsenal hosts Wolves at the Emirates on Saturday, they’ll want to keep their winning streak in all competitions at five games and hold onto their top spot in the Premier League.