·20 September 2023
·20 September 2023
Arsenal returned to the Champions League with a bang as they dispatched Eredivisie leaders PSV 4-0 in a dominant display.
Here are five things we learned the Gunners’ first UCL match in seven seasons…
You would not believe that this was Bukayo Saka’s first ever Champions League match, such is the quality of Arsenal’s ‘star boy’. The 22-year-old showed his class when he stylishly put the Gunners ahead eight minutes in, as Mikel Arteta’s men returned to Europe’s premier club competition with a bang. Then in the 20th minute the Hale End graduate dragged the ball back for Leandro Trossard to brush it into the bottom right corner for Arsenal’s second of the night. With the England international now on three goals and four assists in his first seven games of the campaign, it’s looking like it is going to be another big season for Saka.
Is this truly the end of Aaron Ramsdale’s time as Arsenal’s number one goalkeeper? David Raya’s second consecutive match in between the sticks for the Gunners suggests that is a possibility. The Spaniard looked comfortable with his catching and assured whenever he was called upon, which was a rarity given the dominance Arteta’s side possessed. Added an extra level of calmness to the backline with his fabulous range of passing, and if he starts the north London derby this Sunday, there is no doubt who the undisputed number one is.
Given the club have been out of the Champions League for seven seasons, you should not be surprised that six of Arsenal’s starting eleven were making their debuts in the competition. Bukayo Saka; Leandro Trossard, Ben White, William Saliba, Declan Rice and David Raya all made their bow tonight and none of the six looked out of place. Saka and Trossard both scored, Saliba, White and Raya looked seamless at the back and Rice did what he usually does with poise and precision. A complete performance with the scoreline reflecting Arsenal’s dominance.
A fully fit Gabriel Jesus is a joy to watch. From missing school to watch the Champions League, to becoming a established goalscorer in the competition, it is great to see the Brazilian playing alongside Europe’s elite once again. His 21st goal in the competition means he pulls further away from Brazilian legends Ronaldinho (18) and Ronaldo (14), but Jesus showed a lot more than just his goalscoring prowess, with his overall link up play and exceptional ball carrying skills causing PSV many problems. Keep him fit and Arsenal will go far in the competition.
Although Arsenal deserved to win 4-0, PSV looked the part in the final third, and arguably the front runner for the runners-up spot behind the Gunners. Noa Lang looks an accomplished signing and was the main threat to the relatively untroubled Arsenal backline. A squad full of talented individuals and under the tutelage of Dutchman Peter Bosz, the Eredivisie leaders will hope to come out on top of Sevilla and RC Lens and make it to the last sixteen.