It was a cagey start to the game with Lens trying hard to trouble the Arsenal defence with their high press, but slowly the Gunners gradually took command. And it only took 15 minutes for the Gunners to take the lead, thanks to a dodgy move from Lens trying to play out from the back.
Saka pounced on the ball and slipped it through to Jesus, who sent it perfectly passed the keeper Samba and into the bottom corner. And it looked like we could break their defenxes with ease.
Lens didn’t hang their heads though and they were playing well and getting a lot of success down the right hand side. And it paid off as it only took another ten minutes for them to equalise, once again caused by an error playing out from the back. Raya was at fault this time, with his long pass getting intercepted by Lens, Wahi stepped inside and set up Thomasson whose finish was also excellent and we were back to all square.
The rest of the half was a bit scrappy and physical with Trossard loooking weak against the big defenders, and even the big Havertz was having trouble getting past them.
On the half hour we were shocked to see Bukayo Saka being taken off with what looked like a muscular problem. On comes the physio, and there’s some stretching out being done. It looks like a hamstring, and is very worrying considering that he has been getting knocks in recent games and most fans were calling for him to be rested. Fabio Vieira comes on to replace him and Arsenal’s task just got a bit tougher without our starboy.
Raya has not looked comfortable at all today and our attack looks toothless without Saka and Martinelli….
The first half ends with Arsenal having had the lion’s share of possession but not looking comfortable, with the crowd and the opposition’s physicality.
The second half started very cagey from both sides with Trossard finally geting couple of chances, but Gabriel made a couple of worrying errors, ane which nearly led to a goal. But then Lens were defending a flurry of attacks from the Gunners and Tomiyasu had a golden chance to give us the lead but it banged against Samba’s leg with him knowing little about it.
But then Lens broke down the right wing yet again and this time it was disaster for Arsenal, as Wahi finished well to give the home side the unexpected break to give them the lead.
Arteta is looking vey worried, and immediately sends on Emile Smith Rowe, Ben White and Reiss Nelson, while Havertz, Zinchenko and Trossard trudge back to the bench. Lens also make three subs and both coachs are hoping fresh legs can make a difference.
Nothing happening, but Arteta takes off Odegaard and hopes for a last 10 minute miracle from Eddie Nketiah.
Arsenal came very close to the equaliser in the 88th minute but it was saved on the line, and then descended into a brawl before a Lens player got booked, and it looks like the Gunners have finally lost their first game of the campaign, and to make it worse it looks like we have lost our starboy. Let’s hope it’s not as bad as it looked.
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