Arsenal 4 PSV 0: Gunners fill their boots with Jesus, Saka and Trossard all on the mark as they ease to win

GETTING Arsenal back into the Champions League was Mikel Arteta’s top priority from his very first day in the job.

So Mission Accomplished on that one.

GettyArsenal made their Champions League return in style[/caption]

ReutersMartin Odegaard ran the show in midfield[/caption]

But now the challenge is to make the club contenders rather than the mere participants they were for much of their 19-year run in the competition under Arsene Wenger.

And after six long seasons out of European football’s blue riband event, no-one at the Emirates could ever have imagined that their big-time return would be this easy.

Maybe the bookies haven’t got it quite so wrong when they make Arsenal their fourth favourites to lift the famous trophy at Wembley next May.

Although judgement should be reserved until they have faced much stronger tests than anything powerpuff PSV could offer up at the rain-lashed Emirates.

First-half goals from Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard and Gabriel Jesus meant that this Group B opener was effectively over after 38 minutes as Arteta’s eager young team put the current Eredivisie leaders to the sword.

And skipper Martin Odegaard twisted the knife with a fourth as everything Arsenal touched turned to gold.

The last time Arteta played a famous anthem to get his players in the mood, they were stuffed 4-0 by Liverpool at Anfield.

But there was never any danger of history repeating itself when he blasted out the Champions League theme tune in the dressing-room ahead of this game.


GettyLeandro Trossard had an eye for goal this evening[/caption]

They even printed the song’s little known lyrics in the matchday programme to get their supporters well and truly in the mood.

And how they lapped up this overwhelming performance from a group of players so comfortable in their new surroundings they they could have been playing in carpet slippers 

Yet there were still some tough decisions to be made and Arteta again showed his ruthless streak when he chose to persist with David Raya in goal despite Aaron Ramsdale’s huge contribution to securing Champions League qualification last season.

At least the great goalkeeping debate has given the Gunners fans something to argue about again after a worrying few months of them all agreeing with each other.

Normal service has been resumed.

Those discussions guaranteed that Raya’s every touch was going to be scrutinised, analysed and judged so it was a good job for the new boy that he was able to pass his first Emirates test with an important early save from Noa Lang.

It was pretty much all he had to all evening even though PSV, unbeaten in their previous 24 games since being knocked out of last season’s Europa League by Sevilla, clearly hadn’t planned to sit back and play for a draw

And it was a good job they hadn’t, because when it came to defending they were all over the place as they were cut to shreds Arsenal’s slick passing game.

It took the Gunners just eight minutes to force the breakthrough when keeper Walter Benitez could only parry Odegaard’s shot for the lurking Saka to slam the follow-up inside the far post.

One goal quickly became two when Saka threaded a precise 20th minute pass between four PSV defenders for Trossard to sweep home from the edge of the area.

AFPSaka netted his third of the season[/caption]

APKai Havertz returned to the team after not starting the win at Everton[/caption]

That was Trossard’s second goal of the week after netting the Sunday winner at Everton and even Arteta is going to find it difficult to leave the Belgian out of his team when Gabriel Martinelli recovers from his hamstring injury. 

Jesus, making his first start of the season, was only denied a third Arsenal goal by the athleticism of Benitez and Kai Havertz fired over after working himself into a decent shooting position.

The £65million German was so keen to get going that they had to retake the kick-off because he was deep inside the PSV half before the ref had even blown his whistle. 

But the harder he tries, the more he struggles to convince the sceptical Emirates fans who are still unable to understand what Arteta sees in him.

Yet none of that mattered when Jesus made it 3-0 in the 38th minute, controlling Oleksandr Zinchenko’s cross with his first touch and drilling the ball into the top corner with his second.

The last word was left to captain Odegaard in the 70th minute when he took Reiss Nelson’s pass on the edge of the area and beat Benitez all ends up with a precise low shot into the far corner.

This was exactly the kind of convincing performance that Arteta had been demanding after his team’s struggles to finish off opponents in this season’s previous games.

Now they head into Sunday’s North London derby on the crest of a wave, looking to build on this swaggering display and eager to put the noisy neighbours firmly back in their box.

And if they can continue to play like this, they are going to take some stopping.

ReutersIt was Arsenal’s first Champions League game since 2017[/caption]

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