Well, that my friends, was a battering. The second leg was always about revenge, but I don’t think anyone saw the utter brutality of it happening the way it did.
Arsenal scored 5 goals in the first half. It was monstrous. We were utterly clinical against a team that thought they could come to England and play football the RC Lens way and escape punishment.
This was the first game our first-choice front five played together. We saw Saka, Kai, Odegaard, Jesus and Martinelli drop a masterclass in clinicality and focus.
The result means we’ll qualify for the next round of the Champions League top of our group whilst also being top of the Premier League. This run of games Arsenal has right now looks easy on paper, but sometimes, those games are the hardest. Arteta keeping players on top of the job at hand in a game that could have been complacency FC was impressive. One of the things we lacked last year was that true killer instinct to brutalize teams. There was none of that on show last night.
Bukayo Saka was getting beaten up early on in another two vs one assault. But he didn’t let Lens get at him, his assist for Jesus was basically Saka piling past their defenders refusing to be downed. Another assist and a really well-taken goal from a parried save.
Martinelli unleashed the beast within. His goal was a great advert for why you don’t want to end up alone against him in a one-on-one. He powered down on their full back, had the composure to open a shot up for himself, and he had the aggression to place his shot into the bottom corner.
Gabriel Jesus who told the world finishing wasn’t his thing showed that, actually, it is. He showed off the power of his fixed knee by shimmying like a professional dancer and dropping a Lens player to the floor before comfortably sliding the ball under the keeper.
Martin Odegaard, a player who hasn’t been at the races this season, reminded us all that there’s a man who can deliver Cesc numbers this season. He scored a goal that was nominated for goal of the week. Saka fed Tomi in on an underlap, the Japanese fullback clipped a cross to Odegaard who watched it down and hit a spicy volley into the bottom corner.
Even Jorginho got on this scoresheet with a penalty.
It’s weirdly hard to write about a 6-0 win. What more is there to say?
Kai Havertz looks like the player we hoped for. He was playing with confidence and his whole game looked much more creative and daring. His goal was a bit rough, but the hope is, he’ll be popping up to score those all season. There was a lovely moment when he pulled off a great bit of skill to evade his man in the Lens box. Too many were willing to savage his existence at Arsenal… how many times are we going to listen to those people?
Tomiyasu had another great game, it’s not a shock that after that Bayern link, he’s being touted for a new deal. Hopefully, this fitness of his is going to last the season. The only issue anyone can take with the player is that he gets injured as soon as he finds form. He’s a brilliant guy to have in the squad and I love the versatility he offers.
Final shout is for Mikel Arteta. He’s had a great few months at Arsenal. My hot take was that the transition would be painful as we upgraded key parts of our squad whilst lowering the age base. The only pain we’ve felt is on the eyes. We haven’t always looked sexy. But hey, we’re top of both leagues, and absolutely crushing the metrics that count.
We’ll have dips this season. It’s important to keep perspective. But so far, it’s been a great ride. I’ve no doubt that this team will have League titles and Champions League trophies in their future. That’s pretty awesome considering where we were.
Ok, that’s me done. Check out the On The Whistle.