Arsenal made a stylish return to the Champions League by sweeping aside PSV Eindhoven 4-0 on Wednesday at Emirates Stadium after a six-year absence from the competition.
Arsenal seemed determined to make up for lost time and jumped out to a 3-0 lead by the 38th minute – with PSV goalkeeper Walter Benitez having made a couple of good saves by then to prevent an even bigger scoreline.
In a game played in driving rain throughout, Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard and Gabriel Jesus all scored in the first half, before Martin Odegaard added the fourth with a long-range strike in the 70th.
“I think you saw the motivation, the energy straight from the start,” Odegaard said. “To be back in this competition is huge for us as a club, and I think you saw that on the pitch today. We really enjoyed it.”
Arsenal qualified for the Champions League for 19 straight years under Arsene Wenger but had not played in the competition since 2016-17. PSV last played in it five years ago, and the two teams met in the group stage of the second-tier Europa League last season.
Arsenal beat PSV 1-0 at home that time, but this was a far more one-sided affair.
Saka opened the scoring in the eighth minute by slipping away from U.S. international Sergino Dest and slotting in the rebound after Benitez had pushed away a low shot from Odegaard. Saka turned provider by teeing up Trossard on the edge of the area in the 20th, and the Belgian fired a low right-footed shot just inside the far post.
It was Trossard’s turn to assist on the next one, sending in a cross from the left to Jesus, who downed the ball with one touch and blasted a shot into the far corner with his second. Jesus was making his first start of the season after recovering from a knee injury.
“Today I think we were really good in both boxes,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said. “And in the Champions League when you’re really good in both boxes, you have a great chance.”
PSV had started brightly and tested Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya with a couple of low shots on the slick surface in the opening few minutes. But the visitors rarely threatened again until a counterattack in the 54th, when Johan Bakayoko only managed a weak shot straight at Raya.
Odegaard added gloss to the scoreline after collecting a pass from substitute Reiss Nelson and driving forward before unleashing a low 25-yard strike past the outstretched Benitez.
The result ended PSV’s perfect start to the season after winning its first four games in the Dutch league. Arsenal remained unbeaten in all competitions.
“This was not a shock for us. We knew what to expect here,” PSV defender Jordan Teze said. “Arsenal are a really good team, they have a lot of quality and play in a very smart way. We don’t come up against teams like that in the Dutch competition.”
Sevilla held by Lens 1-1 at home
Sevilla couldn’t manage more than a 1-1 draw with Lens in their opening match of Group B in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Lucas Ocampos put the hosts ahead with a header in the ninth minute. Angelo Fulgini equalized for the French club with a powerful free-kick strike in the 24th at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.
“We played better than they did,” Ocampos said. “But these games are difficult. There’s a reason they are in the Champions League, they are a great team.”
Sevilla was coming off its first win of the season in a match against Las Palmas in the Spanish league on Sunday. Lens was winless in its last five matches, with four losses and a draw.
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