TOPS/FLOPS – Arsenal humiliated Lens on Wednesday evening (6-0), at the Emirates Stadium, during the 5th day of Group B of the Champions League.
The offensive recital of Gabriel Jesus and Arsenal
One, two, three, four, five and six. Arsenal simply dominated, crushed, humiliated, crushed Lens this Wednesday evening. Even if the level gap is originally already high, the score is very high. Especially since it only took the Gunners 30 minutes to score four and a half to score five. A dithyrambic offensive performance and a historic setback for the Sang et Or. Indeed, it is the biggest defeat of a French club in European competition since Bordeaux against Parma in March 1999 in the UEFA Cup (6-0 also). Lens is the second French team to concede 4 goals in the first 30 minutes of a Champions League match, after Lille on November 7, 2012 against Bayern Munich (also 4-0, 6-1 in the end). The Gunners can thank the trio Saka-Jesus-Martinelli who showed their efficiency with a combined total of 3 goals and 1 ist. The high and intense pressing installed by this offensive trident prevented the Lens midfielder from building and the defense from relaunching.
The importance of Tomiyasu
A complete match for the Japanese full-back. On several occasions, he played the indispensable role of transition between defense and attack. Although he did not score, he still delivered two ists thanks to his quality of crosses. His excesses and breakthroughs were essential for the Gunners and were especially at the center of the first half hour of great domination by Arsenal where Arteta’s players scored four goals, including three in six minutes. Indeed, the Emirates premises showed lethal efficiency in the counterattack and transition phases. And if the offensive trident played an important role, Takehiro Tomiyasu represented the perfect link, finishing the match with 82% of successful pes and three long balls delivered. A very high volume of play on Arsenal’s right flank.
The Lensoise defensive flaws
It goes without saying: Arsenal is a much better team than Lens. More complete, more experienced, more talented. But RC Lens has accustomed us in recent years to showing a warrior feeling, capable of tickling the biggest European teams. Today, in London, the Lens troops were simply unrecognizable. Of Arsenal’s six goals, the Lensoise defense can largely do better. The Saka-Jesus-Martinelli trio penetrated too easily into the Sang et Or area, approached the Samba cages too easily. Unable to recover and free themselves, they left a lot of second chances to Arsenal’s attackers, even on set pieces with poor aerial play. A lack of speed, solidity and communication this evening for the Lens rearguard: “We weren’t hoping for that, we were hoping for something else. We are at fault on our strong point, namely our central defense. I reviewed the goals, we have a lot to reproach ourselves for,” said Franck Haise after the match. Absolutely unworthy of a Champions League match, which is also decisive for qualification.
The mental bankruptcy of the Blood and Gold
It must be recognized that the defeat of the Lensois is humiliating, even taking into account the gap in level between the Gunners and the Sang et Or. If disappointment is necessarily in order after such a large setback, anger does not didn’t stay this Wednesday evening. While the Artésiens never hid their pride, their courage and their determination, values supposed to represent the northern club, Franck Haise’s players never seemed to enter the match, never wanted to save the honor or try to create danger, apart from a few breakthroughs as a soloist from Elye Wahi. Lens seemed to have given up. Deprived of the ball, they are in the second act without showing any desire to win the match. Overwhelmed in defense, lacking aggressiveness, intensity, desire… The right ingredients were not put on the Lens table and the final recipe is very bland. Disappointing and frustrating. The European dream has turned into a real nightmare in London.