LONDON — Top of the Premier League and now a group winner with a game to spare in the Champions League.
Arsenal’s season could hardly be going any better.
The English team had six different scorers in a 6-0 rout of Lens on Wednesday that secured a place in the round of 16 of the Champions League.
Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard — Arsenal’s quintet of attacking players — scored at Emirates Stadium as Arsenal became the first English club to lead by five goals at halftime of a Champions League match.
Jorginho converted a penalty in the 86th minute to round off the scoring for a team that has struggled for attacking fluency in the Premier League, despite being in first place after 13 games and back in the hunt for the title that just evaded Arsenal last season.
Arsenal’s return to Europe’s elite competition after a six-year absence has been a successful one.
Mikel Arteta’s team has advanced with one group game still to play and has the advantage of a second-leg match at home in the last 16 against a group runner-up, thus avoiding many of Europe’s most powerful teams like Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
“When we first looked at our group, we wanted to finish top,” Saka said. “We’ve done that so we can be proud.”
Lens stayed in third place in Group B and needs just a draw at home to Sevilla in two weeks to finish in that position and seal a place in the Europa League’s knockout playoff round.
Arsenal wraps up its group-stage campaign at PSV Eindhoven, which is assured of second place.
Havertz followed up his morale-boosting late winner at Brentford in the Premier League on Saturday by scoring from close range from Jesus’ layoff to give Arsenal the lead in the 13th.
Jesus cut back onto his right foot to deceive two defenders and slotted a finish into the corner to make it 2-0 and score in a fourth separate game in the Champions League this season.
After Saka chested in a rebound and Martinelli curled a shot into the corner, Arsenal had scored four goals in a 14-minute span. Odegaard’s volley from Takehiro Tomiyasu’s cross in first-half stoppage time capped a dominant first-half display that allowed Arsenal to conserve some energy after the break ahead of a busy December.