Arsenal

Arsenal broke one UCL record v Lens that shows Arteta fears are being addressed

Arsenal broke a club record in the Champions League against Lens on Wednesday evening.

Arsenal produced a stunning attacking display in the first half at the Emirates Stadium, blowing Lens away and building up a 5-0 lead by half-time.

While the visitors tucked in and defended well for the opening ten minutes or so, the Gunners’ attacking play suddenly clicked into gear in a devastating fashion.

Having been unfortunate to see a header drift just wide moments earlier, Kai Havertz was able to carry on from where he left off against Brentford last time out. After some clever movement in the box, the German prodded in the opening goal from close range.

In the 21st minute, Bukayo Saka found himself surrounded by Lens defenders on the edge of their penalty area. As opponents converged on him, the England star succeeded in nudging the ball to Gabriel Jesus, who stepped inside the closest defender before stroking the ball home. The floodgates had now opened.

Less than two minutes later, Gabriel Martinelli cut inside from the left wing and arced a shot towards the far post. The Brazilian’s effort was parried away by Lens goalkeeper Brice Samba, but only as far as Saka who nudged the ball into the back of the net instinctively from inside the six-yard box. Mikel Arteta’s side were 3-0 up with just 23 minutes on the clock.

This meant the Gunners had just reached a 3-0 lead in a Champions League match faster than they ever had before, setting a new club-record in the competition. They didn’t stop there either.

Arsenal record highlights response to Mikel Arteta concern

Takehiro Tomiyasu was generally very impressive at right-back against Lens, and demonstrated his attacking qualities as he grabbed two assists. The first set up Martinelli to get in on the act, before, on the stroke of half-time, the Japanese defender picked out Martin Odegaard. The club captain duly slammed the ball past Samba to cap a five-star first half effort from the north London club.

Prior to this match, Arteta expressed a concern over how his side were struggling to score goals early on in matches this season. As quoted by the club’s official website, the Spanish coach said, “last year we scored a lot of goals in the first minutes of the games, and then the game becomes different. The opponent becomes more open, the opponent has to do many other things and we haven’t been able to do that that often. So when you compare the time we’ve had in winning moments last year to this year, it’s different.”

Arsenal were able to break this game against Lens open early and were then able to take advantage when the Ligue 1 outfit were forced to play higher up the pitch in an attempt to get back into the game. Arteta will be delighted to have seen his fears over slow starts becoming a bad habit get put to rest in such an emphatic fashion.

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