Ruthless Saka & Martinelli star for record-breaking Arsenal
Arsenal player ratings vs Lens: Devastating Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka lead Mikel Arteta’s side to record-breaking Champions League rout as ruthless Gunners qualify for knockouts in style
The north Londoners won Group B by running riot in the first half against their French opponents.
Arsenal’s return to the Champions League group stage this season hasn’t always been easy, but their 6-0 win over Lens on Wednesday secured their place in the knockout stages for the first time since 2016.
The Gunners were clearly motivated to exact revenge on the French strugglers after their shock defeat in the reverse fixture, and five different players got on the scoresheet before the break: Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, and Martin Odegaard. The half-time victory margin was a tournament record for an English team.
With the outcome basically assured, things slowed down in the second period. The only notable event was Arsenal being awarded a questionable penalty for handball, which replacement Jorginho comfortably converted. However, the Gunners fans who were fortunate enough to be present on this extremely cold night in north London will never forget the first-half fireworks.
Defense & Goalkeeper
David Raya (nine out of ten):
Had one shaky moment in the first half, but otherwise played well.
Takehiro Tomiyasu (8 out of 10):
In a hugely outstanding effort, he had two assists. Ben White is up against it for the starting spot.
William Saliba (nine out of ten):
It didn’t start well, but after the goals started coming in, Lens stopped bothering him.
Gabriel (8 out of 10):
On this instance, he outperformed his defensive counterpart. His fervent celebration of a clearance at the death enthralled the home crowd.
7/10 Oleksandr Zinchenko:
Arsenal was never troubled defensively because he kept the ball moving. At halftime, he was taken off.
Martin Odegaard (7 out of 10):
Took his goal excellently and was instrumental in Arsenal’s powerful press.
Declan Rice (7 out of 10):
The powerful midfielder had a very comfortable night.
Kai Havertz (7 out of 10):
His second goal in as many games will be extremely beneficial to the German. Apart from that, it was clean.
Bukayo Saka (8 out of 10):
I had no idea what his goal was, but they all count! Outstanding effort for the Jesus strike.
(8/10) Gabriel Jesus:
He took his goal so nicely and also set up the first goal. He never appeared to be giving it away.
Gabriel Martinelli (7 out of 10):
Created the fourth from nothing and was always testing the defense on the dribble.
Subs and the Manager
7/10 for Jakub Kiwior:
Was solid, especially given how little he’s played this season.
Ben White (nine out of ten):
Came on with the game already won, but didn’t provide as much offensively as Tomiyasu. I almost scored with a header.
Reiss Nelson (5 out of 10):
It was nice for him to receive some football time, even if he didn’t have much of an impact.
Jorginho (seven out of ten):
Rice was introduced to give him more time to heal before the Wolves game on Saturday, but he still scored from the spot.
N/A Eddie Nketiah:
Bring in for the last stages.
Mikel Arteta (8 points):
There can’t be many complaints with that result, but he could have taken Odegaard and Saka off earlier to save their legs.