Arsenal celebrated their return to the Champions League in stunning style with a 4-0 win over PSV Eindhoven at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday. Mikel Arteta’s men take an early lead in Group B with this result.
Arsenal, on Europe’s biggest stage for the first time in six years, did the business in the first half itself, taking a 3-0 lead before the break through goals from Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard and Gabriel Jesus. Captain Martin Odegaard added a fourth in the second period to seal the rout.
PSV, who finished second in the Eredivisie last season, played some good football throughout, but had no answers for the superior technical qualities possessed by their opponents.
The Gunners took the lead in the eighth minute, and it was fittingly their starboy Saka who scored their first goal back in the Champions League. A low drive from the edge of the box by Odegaard was parried away by PSV goalkeeper Walter Benitez, but Saka reacted quickest to the rebound to finish from a tight angle.
Peter Bosz’s PSV responded well to going behind, keeping the ball for large periods and impressing with their one-touch passing. Belgian youngster Johan Bakayoko looked sprightly on the right, looking like creating every time he received the ball. The Dutch side were, however, not able to pose any significant threat to the Arsenal goal.
On 20 minutes, the hosts doubled their lead. PSV were caught out with too many players forward in attack, and Saka’s ball to the edge of the area was brilliantly finished into the bottom corner by Trossard. The Belgian has come into the side in place of the injured Gabriel Martinelli, but has more than filled the void the latter left thus far. Trossard also scored the only goal of the game in Arsenal’s win over Everton at the weekend.
With seven minutes to go to half-time, The Gunners extended their lead even further. It was Trossard’s turn to turn provider, as his ball into the box from the left was expertly controlled by Jesus before being blasted past Benitez.
Arsenal were showing no signs of nerves whatsoever on their return to the world’s most prestigious club competition, and were instead putting on a show for their home fans.
The massive lead allowed Arteta to ring the changes in the second half, as he was able to bring on the likes of Takehiro Tomiyasu, Fabio Vieira, Emile Smith-Rowe and Reiss Nelson. This was a great way to give so many members of the squad some Champions League experience.
The scoring was concluded in some style in the 70th minute, when Odegaard received the ball from Nelson, beat one man before unleashing an unstoppable low drive from 25 yards out into the bottom corner.
In the other game in Group B, defending Europa League champions Sevilla were held to a 1-1 draw at home against French side Lens. It may still be very early days, but Arsenal look like the favourites to top this quartet.
David Raya – 7
Ben White – 7
William Saliba – 7
Gabriel – 7
Oleksander Zinchenko – 6
Declan Rice – 7
Martin Odegaard – 8
Kai Havertz – 6
Bukayo Saka – 9*
Gabriel Jesus – 8
Leandro Trossard – 9*
Takehiro Tomiyasu – 7
Reiss Nelson – 7
Fabio Vieira – 6
Emile Smith-Rowe – 6
Walter Benitez – 6
Jordan Tete – 5
Armel Bella-Kotchup – 5
Olivier Boscagli – 4
Sergino Dest – 6
Jerdy Schouten – 6
Joey Veerman – 6
Johan Bakayoko – 7
Ismael Saibari – 6
Noa Lang – 6
Luuk de Jong – 5
Malik Tillman – 5
Hirving Lozano – 6
Note: Substitutes coming on after 75 minutes are not rated.
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