Arsenal enjoyed a triumphant return to the Champions League with a 4-0 thrashing of outclassed PSV Eindhoven in Group B as their impressive start to the season continued on Wednesday.
Six years after their last appearance among Europe’s elite, goals by Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard and Gabriel Jesus before half-time paved the way for an easy victory, with captain Martin Odegaard also on target after the change of ends.
Saka, one of several Arsenal players making their debuts in the competition, struck from close range after eight minutes and Trossard’s low shot made it 2-0 12 minutes later before Jesus hammered Arsenal’s third to effectively wrap up the points.
Arsenal, who have taken 13 points from their opening five Premier League games, travel to Lens next week while PSV must try to repair some of the damage at home to Sevilla.
The last time Arsenal played in the Champions League they suffered a chastening 10-2 aggregate drubbing at the hands of Bayern Munich, since when their perennial place amongst the Premier League’s top-four became a fading memory.
Runners-up spot to Manchester City last season sent them back to the top table and Dutch side PSV proved the perfect opponents on a rain-drenched night in north London.
The visitors did test David Raya, again preferred to England keeper Aaron Ramsdale, in the opening minute when Noa Lang forced the Spaniard into a comfortable save.
After that, it was one-way traffic. Arsenal’s opener arrived as Saka linked with Odegaard and when the Norwegian’s shot was only parried by Walter Benitez, Saka was alert enough to guide home from close range.
Lautaro Martinez’s late goal salvaged a 1-1 draw for Inter Milan at Real Sociedad.
The Basque team looked the more dominant side, their first Champions League group-stage appearance in a decade, while the Serie A leaders will be grateful for their rivals’ misses in front of goal after a performance far from their unbeaten league run.
“I have congratulated my boys for the great game they played,” Real coach Imanol Alguacil said. “The players, the fans and myself should be proud.”
The hosts’ early high pressing paid off after just four minutes when Brais Mendez stole the ball on the edge of the Inter box to fire into the bottom right corner and make it 1-0. “We faced a very strong side,” Inter coach Simone Inzaghi told Amazon Prime.