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Arsenal logo
Champions League | Group Stage
Nov 29, 2023 at 8pm UK
Emirates Stadium
Lens logo
Arsenal
6 - 0
Lens
Havertz (13'), Jesus (21'), Saka (23'), Martinelli (27'), Odegaard (45+1'), Jorginho (86' pen.)
FT(HT: 5-0)

Mendy (41'), Khusanov (63'), Haidara (64')

Bukayo Saka joins Karim Benzema, Luis Suarez in exclusive Champions League group

Bukayo Saka joins Karim Benzema, Luis Suarez in exclusive Champions League group
© Reuters
Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka joins Luis Suarez and Karim Benzema in an exclusive Champions League group with a goal and assist in the Gunners' 6-0 thrashing of Lens.

Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka has joined Luis Suarez and Karim Benzema in an exclusive Champions League club thanks to his contributions in Wednesday's 6-0 Group B battering of Lens.

Leading the French outfit and PSV Eindhoven by four points ahead of the penultimate matchday, the Gunners could have qualified for the last 16 without kicking a ball had the latter lost to basement side Sevilla in the earlier kickoff.

PSV's 3-2 victory over the Europa League winners put paid to that idea, but Mikel Arteta's men knew that a point at the Emirates would be enough to seal their top-two finish with a match to spare.

Arsenal's attacking play left a lot to be desired in a 2-1 loss to Lens in October, which marked a third Champions League game without a win against Les Sang et Or, but Arteta's men tore their opponents to shreds in a merciless first-half display in North London.

Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus, Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard all breached Brice Samba's goal in the opening 45, before Jorginho's late penalty increased the hosts' tally to six, emphatically ensuring that they would qualify for the last 16 as group winners.

Arsenal's Martin Odegaard celebrates scoring their fifth goal with teammates on November 29, 2023© Reuters

Multiple team records were broken by the North London club on Wednesday evening, but there was a notable personal achievement for Saka, who scooped the ball through to Jesus before netting himself, as Samba parried a Martinelli shot into his path.

In doing so, the England international registered a goal and assist for the third Champions League home game running, having also scored one and set up another in Arsenal's beatings of PSV and Sevilla.

Since the 2003-04 campaign, only Suarez and Benzema have also scored and assisted in three successive Champions League home fixtures, with the former doing so for then defending champions Barcelona in the 2015-16 campaign.

Meanwhile, Benzema came up with a goal and assist in four consecutive top-tier European home matches for Real Madrid in the 2011-12 season, and Arteta was delighted with Saka's 'aggressive' approach, enabling him to be in the right place at the right time to bag his goal.

"That's a different edge to score ugly goals as well and be involved in this action that gives an advantage to your teammate and he did it as well against Burnley when he won that header for Leo, and that's a different kind of aggression that's good in this game and that's a really positive thing to see," Arteta told his post-game press conference.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on November 29, 2023© Reuters

As well as Saka's noteworthy achievement, Jesus also continued his love affair with the Champions League, becoming the first player to score in each of his opening four games in the tournament for an English club.

Prior to Jesus's calm finish, the Brazilian headed the ball down for Havertz to prod home the opener from close range, which saw the ex-Chelsea man register in back-to-back games after his winner against Brentford at the weekend.

Havertz had previously gone 31 games without a non-penalty goal before his back-post header versus Brentford, and Arteta waxed lyrical about the "tremendous" German, adding: "Yes, scoring goals, playing well, participating in wins; those are positive attributes.

"You've seen the reception of his team-mates, the crowd singing his name and being with him in every positive action that he had, those are all good things that are going to help him to show why he's a tremendous player."

Guaranteed to finish first in their European group, Arsenal return to Premier League action against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday aiming to maintain or increase their one-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the standings.

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Arsenal's Martin Odegaard celebrates scoring their fifth goal with teammates on November 29, 2023
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Group A

TeamPWDLPTS
QBayern651016
QCopenhagen62228
3Galatasaray61235
4Man Utd61144

Group B

TeamPWDLPTS
QArsenal641113
QPSV62319
3Lens62228
4Sevilla60242

Group C

TeamPWDLPTS
QReal Madrid660018
QNapoli631210
3Braga61144
4Union Berlin60242

Group D

TeamPWDLPTS
QReal Sociedad633012
QInter Milan633012
3Benfica61144
4Salzburg61144

Group E

TeamPWDLPTS
QAtletico642014
QLazio631210
3Feyenoord62046
4Celtic61144

Group F

TeamPWDLPTS
QDortmund632111
QPSG62228
3AC Milan62228
4Newcastle61235

Group G

TeamPWDLPTS
QMan City660018
QRB Leipzig640212
3Young Boys61144
4Red Star60151

Group H

TeamPWDLPTS
QBarcelona640212
QPorto640212
3Shakhtar63039
4Antwerp61053

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