Arsenal reached the Champions League knockouts as group winners by thumping Lens at Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners scored five in a phenomenal first-half display as they reach the last 16 in their first appearance in the competition for seven years.
Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard all scored in the first half, before Jorginho added a late penalty.
Arsenal progress from Group B alongside PSV Eindhoven, with Lens out.
Havertz, brought into the starting XI after scoring the winner against Brentford at the weekend, opened the scoring on 13 minutes when Lens failed to clear a looping ball into the box. Jesus nodded across goal and Havertz showed a striker’s instinct to finish from close range ahead of goalkeeper Brice Samba.
Jesus turned scorer to slot the second past Samba from 15 yards, sweeping home after being set up by Saka’s powerful run between defenders from the right.
Arsenal’s attacking unit was in full flow, illustrated by Saka taking his turn to move from provider to scorer just two minutes and 20 seconds later, steering the ball home after Samba saved from Martinelli.
Brazil winger Martinelli would not be denied and scored the best of the lot on 27 minutes, finding the far bottom corner after cutting inside from the left.
The fifth came in first-half stoppage time, Odegaard perfectly timing a volley from 12 yards following Takehiro Tomiyasu’s excellent cross.
Arsenal are the first side in Champions League history to have five different scorers in the first half of a match.
A more sedate second half followed, before Jorginho added a sixth from the spot following a handball by Abduqodir Khusanov.
Irresistible Arsenal power into last 16
It had appeared, around half an hour before kick-off, that Arsenal would progress to the last 16 without kicking a ball – only for PSV’s remarkable comeback at Sevilla to force them to earn their knockout place on the field.
Mikel Arteta’s side started this match as if annoyed at the inconvenience of having to do the job themselves, and wanting to get it done as swiftly as possible.
Through the smoke from pyrotechnics smuggled in by Lens fans, Arsenal were irresistible in the first half and particularly when scoring three in seven minutes.
They also played like they had a score to settle with Lens, a team they had not beaten in three previous Champions League games including the reverse fixture in Group B, which the French side won 2-1.
Saka, on the fifth anniversary of his senior Arsenal debut, was particularly redoubtable despite being frequently fouled.
His assist for the second goal was his fourth in five Champions League games. No Arsenal player has previously set up more than three in a single campaign.
The early onslaught appeared to put the record Champions League victory margin under threat – set by Liverpool and Real Madrid with 8-0 victories over Besiktas and Malmo respectively – however Lens avoided that indignity and will still reach the Europa League if they avoid defeat to Sevilla on 12 December.
- 18TomiyasuSubstituted forWhiteat 45′minutes
- 35ZinchenkoSubstituted forKiwiorat 45′minutes
- 41RiceSubstituted forJorginhoat 75′minutes
- 7SakaSubstituted forNelsonat 66′minutes
- 9Gabriel JesusSubstituted forNketiahat 82′minutes
- 17Cédric Soares
- 24GraditSubstituted forKhusanovat 62′minutesBooked at 63mins
- 14MedinaSubstituted forMachadoat 45′minutes
- 26MendyBooked at 41minsSubstituted forPereira da Costaat 76′minutes
- 6Abdul SamedSubstituted forEl Aynaouiat 45′minutes
- 21HaïdaraBooked at 64mins
- 7SotocaSubstituted forThomassonat 45′minutes
- 10Pereira da Costa
- 23El Aynaoui
- Artur Manuel Soares Dias
Match ends, Arsenal 6, Lens 0.
Second Half ends, Arsenal 6, Lens 0.
Kevin Danso (Lens) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal).
Attempt blocked. Elye Wahi (Lens) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Neil El Aynaoui.
Elye Wahi (Lens) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by William Saliba (Arsenal).
Angelo Fulgini (Lens) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Kai Havertz (Arsenal).
Goal! Arsenal 6, Lens 0. Jorginho (Arsenal) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.
VAR Decision: Penalty Arsenal.
Penalty conceded by Abduqodir Khusanov (Lens) with a hand ball in the penalty area.
Substitution, Arsenal. Eddie Nketiah replaces Gabriel Jesus.
Attempt missed. Ben White (Arsenal) header from the right side of the six yard box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Martin Ødegaard with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Abduqodir Khusanov.
Massadio Haïdara (Lens) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Martin Ødegaard (Arsenal).
Reiss Nelson (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Abduqodir Khusanov (Lens).
Substitution, Lens. David Pereira da Costa replaces Nampalys Mendy.
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