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Despite facing a formidable opposing lineup, RC Lens earned a memorable 2-1 win at home to favourites Arsenal to send them top of Group B on matchday two of the UEFA Champions League (UCL). The Gunners remain second after PSV and Sevilla drew 2-2 in tonight’s other clash.
Lens vs Arsenal: Timeline
14′ – Arsenal take the lead with their first shot on goal as Gabriel Jesus fires into the bottom corner from a Bukayo Saka pass. Adrien Thomasson gave the ball away cheaply for Lens.
25′ – Lens equalise through a Thomasson half-volley after an Elye Wahi acrobatic pass. David Raya gave the ball away in the build-up.
34′ – Saka comes off injured and is replaced by Fabio Vieira.
69′ – Lens are ahead as Wahi sweeps into the bottom corner first time following a Przemyslaw Frankowski cross.
89′ – Reiss Nelson’s shot is well-blocked by Jonathan Gradit following a sweeping Arsenal move. A scuffle between both teams follows.
The Big Stat
Lens latest victim of Sak-attack
With his assist for Jesus, Saka is the first player in Europe’s top five leagues to record 5+ goals and assists in all competitions this season.
— Football on TNT Sports (@footballontnt) October 3, 2023
Lens vs Arsenal player ratings: Star Player
Elye Wahi – 8.40
Wahi was no doubt the player of the match, as he had a hand in both of Lens’ goals. He provided an acrobatic assist for their first goal scored by Thomasson, a crucial moment in the game that gave the hosts belief after going behind.
His winning goal was taken very well, a curling first-time finish into the bottom corner after a fine Frankowski cross.
Lens vs Arsenal player ratings:
Lens player ratings
Brice Samba – 7
Samba produced some vital saves, especially at the end, as Lens held on.
Jonathan Gradit – 7
Gradit produced a tremendous last-minute block to win three points for his team.
Kevin Danso – 6
Danso had some difficult moments against Jesus but was solid overall.
Facundo Medina – 6
Like Danso, Medina was solid enough to reduce Arsenal to just one goal.
Przemyslaw Frankowski – 7
Frankowski produced a wonderful cross for Wahi to slot home the winner.
Nampalys Mendy – 6
Mendy was solid in the middle of the park as Arsenal hardly played through Lens.
Salis Abdul Samed – 6
Samed was solid in both boxes for Lens.
Deiver Machado – 6
Machado was lively and often provided an attacking threat.
Florian Sotoca – 6
Sotoca lacked a little bit of a creative spark but was involved in attacks.
Adrien Thomasson – 7
Thomasson gave the ball away for Arsenal’s opening goal but produced a sumptuous half-volley to equalise.
Sepe Elye Wahi – 8
Wahi was the star man for Lens, providing an acrobatic assist and fine finish of his own.
Angelo Fulgini (sub) – 6
Fulgini was resorted to more of a defensive job in the final 20 minutes.
Andy Diouf (sub) – 6
Like Fulgini, Diouf did not go forward as much as he would have liked.
Wesley Said (sub) – 6
Likewise, Said joined a solid defensive performance from Lens in the final moments.
Ruben Aguilar (sub) – 6
Aguilar was solid enough when he came on.
Arsenal no longer unbeaten
Arsenal player ratings
David Raya – 5
Raya’s sloppy pass led to Lens’ opening goal, and was not much of a presence.
Takehiro Tomiyasu – 5
Tomiyasu made some decent runs and was unlucky not to score in the second half with a volley, but defensively he was suspect.
William Saliba – 6
Saliba was not at fault for either goal and was confident in playing out of Lens’ press.
Gabriel Magalhaes – 6
Like Saliba, Gabriel had a solid performance despite conceding twice.
Oleksandr Zinchenko – 6
Zinchenko stepped into midfield well and played some dangerous passes.
Martin Odegaard – 5
Odegaard tried to play intricate passes through but it just was not his night.
Declan Rice – 7
Arsenal’s best player on the night, Rice played out of situations well and was the only midfielder who showed any real composure.
Kai Havertz – 5
Havertz had a shot saved in the first half but struggled to get in the game.
Bukayo Saka – 7
Saka provided the assist for Jesus’ opening goal before being forced off injured in the first half.
Gabriel Jesus – 6
Jesus took his goal well and was lively throughout, pressing well when he needed to.
Leandro Trossard – 5
Trossard provided some neat turns but end product is lacking.
Fabio Vieira (sub) – 5
Vieira had little impact despite playing an hour.
Ben White (sub) – 5
White did not have time to make much of an impact.
Emile Smith Rowe (sub) – 6
Smith Rowe was lively and forced a save from Samba.
Reiss Nelson (sub) – 6
Nelson could have scored an equaliser if not for a good block,
Eddie Nketiah (sub) – 5
Nketiah struggled to make much impact.
The Final Word
The result will give Lens confidence they can qualify from the group, as they sit top with four points from a possible six. For Arsenal, their unbeaten start to the season ends, and they could not ask for a tougher opponent than Manchester City at the weekend.
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