Arsenal 6-0 RC Lens: Gunners bulldoze their way into Champions League last-16

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Arsenal bulldozed RC Lens on Wednesday night to book their place in the Champions League knockout stages.

In the new year, the Gunners will have the chance to end their last-16 curse and reach the quarter-finals for the first time in 14 years.

Not only did this 6-0 romp secure their place in the next round but they have also topped Group B with a game spare, earning a seeding in next month's draw. PSV will follow them through as runners-up after a dramatic comeback win at Sevilla.

A strong XI sent out by Mikel Arteta included Kai Havertz following his late winner at Brentford on the weekend, and the German popped up to finish Gabriel Jesus' knockdown after only 13 minutes to set the tone for this very different game.

Space was in abundance for Arsenal as Lens' schoolboy defending allowed Bukayo Saka to poke the ball towards Gabriel Jesus in the box. The Brazilian jinked past one challenge and buried the second goal.

It was soon 3-0 as Gabriel Martinelli's shot was palmed away by Brice Samba straight onto the chest of Saka, who guided home his third Champions League goal of the season.

Martinelli latched onto a fine diagonal ball by the superb Takehiro Tomiyasu before nestling a shot in the far corner for 4-0 with not even half an hour played.

Martin Odegaard then rounded off a magical first half with a driven finish from Tomiyasu's cross.

Mikel Arteta was able to rest Tomiyasu and Oleksandr Zinchenko at the break, giving Ben White a runout after his injury, while Lens made a triple change to try and wrestle back some pride.

However, they struggled to threaten David Raya's goal as Saka and Declan Rice were soon sent for a rest as Arsenal cruised to the finish.

The sixth came via the spot after a handball by Abdukodir Khusanov was spotted by VAR, allowing substitute Jorginho to make it 6-0 in the 86th minute.