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Arsenal suffered their first defeat of the season in the Champions League, losing 2-1 to Lens in a closely contested match.
Mikel Arteta made a couple of changes to the lineup from their previous victory over Bournemouth, with Takehiro Tomiyasu and Leandro Trossard stepping in for Ben White and Eddie Nketiah. Gabriel Jesus led the attack, and Bukayo Saka played despite concerns over a recent injury.
The game started with Lens showing their attacking intent early on, but a defensive error allowed Arsenal to take the lead. Saka seized the opportunity, fed the ball to Jesus, and his precise finish found the net. However, Lens quickly equalized after intercepting a wayward pass from David Raya, leading to an excellent goal by Adrien Thomasson.
Unfortunately, Saka had to leave the game due to what appeared to be a hamstring issue, raising questions about his fitness given his recent injury struggles.
Arteta explained that Saka’s injury was due to an unexpected backheel, but some speculated it could be related to previous knocks. Despite Saka’s potential to make a difference in tight games like this one, Arteta may have regretted not being more cautious, especially with a crucial match against Man City on the horizon.
In the second half, Arsenal missed a chance to take the lead when Trossard failed to make good contact with the ball. Lens continued to impress, displaying technical skills and physicality that troubled Arsenal.
Declan Rice was a standout performer for Arsenal, but Lens managed to score another well-executed goal, capitalizing on defensive lapses. Arteta made substitutions, but Lens defended deep, making it challenging for Arsenal to create scoring opportunities.
Despite late chances for Arsenal, including one denied by excellent defending, Lens secured all three points. Arteta pointed out the missed chances and the need for better defending in both boxes as key factors in the defeat.
Looking ahead, Arsenal faces Sevilla, and the status of Saka’s injury remains uncertain, possibly making him a doubt for the next match. Arsenal will need to improve their overall performance to bounce back from this defeat.