RC Lens came from behind to defeat Arsenal 2-1 in the UEFA Champions League as Mikel Arteta’s men suffered their first group-stage defeat in 10 games.
Roared on by a boisterous home crowd, the hosts took the game to the Gunners in the early stages with a few teasing deliveries into the box, but their energy was punctured on 13 minutes when Arsenal pounced for the opener. Bukayo Saka found Gabriel Jesus, and the Brazilian striker punished the Lens defence for being out of position with a pinpoint finish into the far corner.
Just when it looked like the visitors had complete control of the game, an error from David Raya allowed the home side to fire up the crowd with the equaliser. The goalkeeper gave the ball away with a loose pass, but there was still plenty to do as Elye Wahi picked up possession. However, the 20-year-old produced an improvised flick to find Adrien Thomasson, who opened up his foot to curl the ball into the side netting beyond the despairing Raya.
Both defences were on top going into HT but, shortly after the interval, Leandro Trossard came incredibly close to restore his side’s advantage. Admittedly, he was off balance when he shot after cutting inside, but Brice Samba was incredibly fortunate not to see the ball bounce into his hands and not his own net after parrying the Belgian’s effort into a teammate. As the game wore on, the home faithful started to sense the game was there to be won, and Lens ultimately completed the comeback midway through the second half.
Przemysław Frankowski showed composure on the right flank to cut the ball back to Wahi rather than power a cross into the box, and the striker side-footed past Raya to lift the roof off the Stade Bollaert-Delelis. Even with over 20 minutes left on the clock, Arsenal couldn’t find their way past a well-organised Lens defence, and the French side managed to hold on and move to the summit of Group B. Arteta and Co, meanwhile sit second, and face a double-header against Sevilla as they look to stake a claim for a place in the knockouts.