After PSV’s victory in Seville (3-2) earlier in the evening, it was not necessary to lose in London to avoid elimination. But the step was much too high for the Lensois, and their dream of qualifying for the round of 16 quickly turned into a nightmare, on the pitch at the Emirates Stadium where they seemed very small (0-6).
Was it the victory of the Northerners in the first leg at Bollaert (2-1) which sharpened the fangs of the Gunners, or the majestic setting of the London stadium which intimidated Frank Haise’s players? There was no match, in any case, during a first period where the gap between the two teams was a chasm into which Lens fell head first. Bitten from the start by the intense pressing of the English, incapable of holding the ball and pierced in a few seconds as soon as the opponent accelerated, the Lensois went through hell and, after not even half an hour of play, there was already 4-0, amidst the cheerful chants from the stands.
Arsenal score four times from their first six shots
Technically, the Londoners succeeded in almost everything they tried, scoring four times from their first six shots, and it was a recital of beautiful gestures and good ideas, first Havertz who beat Samba from close range (1- 0, 13th), then Saka who cut back into the axis, went into the area and cleared for Gabriel Jesus, who hooked and adjusted the Lensois goalkeeper (2-0, 21st). It was a long clearance from Raya, then, and a combination between Havertz and Martinelli, concluded by an attempt from the Brazilian poorly repelled by Samba but well followed by Saka (3-0, 23rd). The people of Lens were stunned, their faces defeated, their gazes lost.
Martinelli also scored his goal with a nice curling shot (4-0, 27th) and Arsenal slowed down a little, allowing the Sang et Or to show off a little in the opposite camp and Medina to find the post (40th). But Odegaard took advantage of superb work from Tomiyasu, starting from his side and then decisive passer, to bring the stadium to its feet just before half-time (5-0, 45th+1) and the English calmly controlled the second period.
They no longer needed to accelerate, only to control without trembling, until a logical penalty obtained after a foul by Khusanov and transformed by Jorginho (6-0, 86th). The addition is painful but quite logical, and the Lensois can at least say that they have raised their heads and limited the damage in the second half. They can say, above all, that a draw against Sevilla FC on December 12 at Bollaert would qualify them for the Europa League.