Arsenal delivered an emphatic performance
on their return to Europe’s premier competition, securing a 4-0 victory over
PSV Eindhoven in their Champions League Group B opener at the Emirates Stadium.
Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Jesus, and Martin Odegaard found the
back of the net in a dominant performance for the Gunners at home.
Playing in the Champions League for the
first time in six years, Mikel Arteta picked a full-strength Arsenal outfit
against the Eredivisie runners-up, with David Raya continuing in goal at the
expense of Aaron Ramsdale.
Eager to kickstart their Champions League
journey on a high, Arsenal burst out of the gates in North London and took just
eight minutes to find the lead. Bukayo Saka began the proceedings for Arsenal
on his Champions League debut, with the winger rifling home from close distance
after Martin Odegaard’s shot was parried by Walter Benitez.
Gabriel Jesus should have doubled Arsenal’s
lead moments later but failed to get on the end of Ben White’s cross across the
face of the post. The Gunners, though, continued to threaten the PSV defence
and found a second goal on 20 minutes through Leandro Trossard. Gabriel Jesus
linked up with Bukayo Saka, who squared the ball for the oncoming Belgian to
fire a pinpoint shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Arsenal kept knocking on the door of a
third throughout the half, with Kai Havertz skying his chance and Benitez
making a fine save to deny Gabriel Jesus. However, the Brazilian got his goal
before the break on his first start of the season, smashing home his effort
into the top corner from a Trossard assist to put Arsenal 3-0 in front.
Taking a comfortable lead into the second
half, Arsenal entered cruised control after the break. Emile Smith Rowe came on
to a rousing reception from the Gunners’ faithful for his first appearance of
the season and was immediately involved in the action for the fourth goal. The
Englishman linked up with fellow substitute Reiss Nelson, who teed up Martin
Odegaard to put the finishing touches on a near-perfect Arsenal performance by
adding a fourth with a thunderous strike.
The comprehensive 4-0 victory takes Arsenal
to the top of Group B and extends their promising start to the new season. The
Gunners have taken 13 from a possible 15 points in the Premier League and will
be looking to continue that form in the much-anticipated North London derby
against Tottenham at the weekend.