Arsenal kicked off their first Champions League campaign in six years with a resounding victory over PSV Eindhoven at Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners won their first Group B encounter with a stunning first-half performance that saw them storm into a 3-0 lead on a rainy night in north London.
Bukayo Saka scored after eight minutes, pouncing on a rebound after PSV keeper Walter Benitez could only deflect Martin Odegaard’s into the path of the England winger.
Saka was involved again 12 minutes later when Arsenal doubled their lead, neatly placing the ball into Leandro Trossard’s pass for a beautiful low finish after Gabriel Jesus had broken free.
Jesus was brilliant and deserved to score Arsenal’s third goal seven minutes before halftime with a soaring shot that left Benitez helpless.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta made a number of second-half substitutions in preparation for Sunday’s derby against in-form Tottenham Hotspur, but his side maintained perfect control, and Odegaard made it 4-0 with a powerful 20-yard strike with 20 minutes remaining.
In other Group B action, Lens held Sevilla to a 1-1 draw in Spain in their first Champions League match in 20 years.
Arsenal had been looking forward to this day since 2017, and the home supporters greeted their return to the Champions League with a loud shout before kickoff as the tournament’s hymn resonated across Emirates Stadium.
And manager Arteta couldn’t have asked for a better result, as Arsenal controlled from the start, with those two early goals emphasizing their supremacy over PSV and giving them control that they never seemed to abandon.
Striker Jesus was an excellent line leader, scoring one, assisting on another with a charging break, and pushing keeper Benitez into a stunning diving stop after some outstanding footwork.
David Raya was chosen ahead of Aaron Ramsdale in goal yet again, and while he was barely tested, he demonstrated why Arteta regards him so highly by exhibiting safe handling in challenging conditions as well as some superb distribution with the ball at his feet.
The fact that Arsenal’s victory was so comfortable allowed Arteta to make substitutions early in order to keep players fresh for the match against Spurs on Sunday.
Saka, Jesus, Trossard, Declan Rice, and Oleksandr Zinchenko all slept in order to preserve energy for what is building up to be one of the most important games of the Premier League season.
The Gunners‘ emotions are at an all-time high after following up their crucial win at Everton last weekend with a performance that featured enough of their customary fluency to outclass their Dutch opponents.