Arsenal Make A Statement Win In Champions League Return
Arsenal marked their long-awaited return to the Champions League in splendid fashion at the Emirates Stadium, sweeping aside PSV Eindhoven with ease.
After a six-year absence from Europe’s elite competition, the Gunners left no room for doubt, showcasing a dazzling attacking performance that resulted in goals from Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Jesus, and Martin Odegaard, securing a commanding 4-0 victory.
The club’s lengthy absence from the pinnacle of European football was so significant that someone found it necessary to print the lyrics of the Champions League anthem in the matchday program. Arsenal’s players, on the other hand, appeared to be completely in sync with the anthem’s tune.
Mohamed Elneny, making his return to the bench for the first time since a serious knee injury suffered in January, was the only player in the current squad with prior experience of Champions League football.
Nevertheless, it didn’t take long for the newcomers to leave their mark on this grand stage. Saka opened the scoring within the first eight minutes, followed by Trossard doubling the lead, Jesus adding a third before halftime, and Odegaard capping off a splendorous evening.
David Raya retained his place in goal, having stepped in for Aaron Ramsdale in their Premier League victory over Everton on Sunday.
Kai Havertz and Gabriel Jesus replaced Fabio Vieira and Eddie Nketiah, respectively, while Leandro Trossard filled in for the injured Gabriel Martinelli.
Saka established the evening’s tempo, with the English winger finishing expertly after PSV goalkeeper Walter Benitez deflected an Odegaard shot into his path.
Jesus had an opportunity to double the lead moments later but failed to connect with Ben White’s low cross. However, the second goal came shortly after, as the Brazilian forward orchestrated a counter-attack and provided an assist to Saka, who then teed up Trossard for a precise strike.
The Emirates Stadium was witnessing one-way traffic, with Havertz firing over the bar before Jesus forced Benitez into a remarkable save. Jesus then found the back of the net himself with a splendid effort from a Trossard’s cross.
Mikel Arteta wisely decided to rest his key players as the second half unfolded with the North London derby in his mind. All three goal-scorers, along with Zinchenko, were substituted before the 70-minute mark, with Arsenal firmly in control of the game.
There was still time for more goals, as Odegaard demonstrated his prowess by slotting home a well-placed finish to further extend Arsenal’s lead.
In Arsene Wenger’s reign, Arsenal advanced from the Champions League group stages for 17 consective seasons. They have however, the last seven of those campaigns ended in disappointment in the last 16. Arteta’s men have made an impressive start in Group B, but the manager is well aware that tougher challenges lie ahead if they are to progress deep into the competition while also maintaining their pursuit of a Premier League title.