Mikel Arteta revels in dominant Arsenal thrashing of RC Lens beyond his wildest dreams

Arsenal have topped Group B with a game spare (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Arsenal have topped Group B with a game spare (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta says he could not have dreamed of a better night as Arsenal thrashed RC Lens 6-0 to book their place in the Champions League knockouts as group winners.

Arsenal led 5-0 at the interval through five different scorers - Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard - before Jorginho's first goal for the club from the penalty spot late on.

It ensured the Gunners topped the group with a game to spare, leaving their visit to PSV Eindhoven next month as a dead rubber.

"I didn’t even dream like this! We had the chance to qualify today and be top of the group and I think we’ve done it in a really convincing way against a really good side," Arteta said afterwards.

"The team from the beginning showed a lot of aggression and determination to go for the game. Everything happened in the right way in the first 30 minutes. That was really helpful to win the game.

"It’s great that we are able to win this way. But I think the consistency that we’ve shown at home to not concede any goals and score lots is a really positive factor. Those players need to have those experiences and believe that we can do it against those opponents.

"Now let’s wait. We have to park it, we will know in February who we’re facing and let’s see how we are in that moment."

Saka continued his superb start to the season with Arsenal's third goal after the Lens goalkeeper parried Martinelli's shot directly into the England winger, who had already set up Jesus' cool finish.

Saka is just the third player on record to both score and assist in three consecutive home games in the Champions League, after Karim Benzema and Luis Suárez, and Arteta afterwards hailed his impact in the competition.

"He has a different edge, you know?" Arteta said. "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 [Leandro Trossard], and that's a different kind of aggression in his game and that's a really positive thing to see.

"He has stepped up like everybody. Gabriel Jesus as well I think is in tremendous form in the Champions League. I think we shared six different scorers, no?

"So that's great that the team has this capacity. Kai again scored two goals in two games. It's really good for the confidence of the players."