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Arsenal’s Champions League Setback: Ratings Unveiled

Arsenal’s European Upset: A Night to Forget at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis

Sudden Shock

In the atmospheric embrace of Stade Bollaert-Delelis, a tense Champions League night unfolded for Arsenal. The English giants, usually so dominant, were left reeling. An evening that saw Bukayo Saka depart prematurely was only the beginning of the Gunners’ woes.

The Opening Exchange

From the get-go, it was evident that Lens, buoyed by a fiercely passionate home crowd, were not to be underestimated. Early on, Kevin Danso came tantalisingly close, only to see his volley skid just beyond the post. But, as football often dictates, a missed opportunity at one end led to punishment at the other.

Seizing on a lapse from Lens’ Thomasson, Arsenal’s young prodigy, Saka, fed Gabriel Jesus. The resulting low drive found its mark, and the visitors were ahead.

However, Lens’s spirit remained undeterred. Within minutes, Thomasson, looking to atone for his error, danced onto a clever volleyed pass from the prodigious Elye Wahi. With aplomb, he dispatched it, restoring parity.

Saka’s Worry

Before the half-time whistle could sound, there was a concerning sight for Arsenal fans worldwide. Saka, their star performer, limped off. Concerns would immediately shift to his availability for the pivotal clash against Manchester City on the weekend.

A Glimpse of Hope

Emerging for the second half, Arsenal showcased a renewed vigour. They moved the ball with intent, and it seemed only a matter of time before they’d breach Lens’s defence once more. When Leandro Trossard got his chance, he seemed certain to score, but Lens’s resilience epitomised by Danso’s last-ditch clearance, denied him.

From there, the pendulum swung back towards Lens. A sequence of near misses culminated in a well-crafted move finished off by Wahi, sealing a momentous victory for the Ligue 1 outfit.

Arsenal’s Individual Performances

  • David Raya (GK): 6/10 – Calm in possession but could do little about the goals.
  • Takehiro Tomiyasu (RB): 5/10 – Found Thomasson a handful.
  • William Saliba (CB): 5/10 – Below his usual standard.
  • Gabriel Magalhaes (CB): 5/10 – Wahi’s agility proved too much.
  • Oleksandr Zinchenko (LB): 4/10 – Frequently out of position.
  • Martin Odegaard (CM): 5/10 – Struggled to ignite Arsenal’s attack.
  • Declan Rice (CM): 6/10 – Proved his worth in midfield.
  • Kai Havertz (CM): 3/10 – A night to forget.
  • Bukayo Saka (RW): 6/10 – Instrumental in the goal but departed early.
  • Gabriel Jesus (ST): 6/10 – Took his chance well but contained thereafter.
  • Leandro Trossard (LW): 5/10 – Lacked the usual spark.

Substitutes

  • Fabio Vieira (for Saka): 4/10 – Failed to make an impact.
  • Reiss Nelson: 5/10
  • Ben White: 5/10
  • Emile Smith Rowe: 5/10
  • Eddie Nketiah: N/A.

Tactical Insights

Mikel Arteta, the maestro at Arsenal’s helm, will surely reflect on this. His tactics, especially the use of ‘inverted full-backs’, were successfully negated by Lens. Adjustments will be necessary, particularly with Manchester City looming.

The Standout Star

Without a doubt, Elye Wahi of Lens stole the show. His flair, creativity, and goal-scoring touch encapsulated a night that Lens fans will cherish for years.

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