Remember, there are no easy games in Europe – apart from Lens at home.

As Arsenal romped into Champions League knockout stage, they unfurled their tribute to a classic punk album. Against a club who play at the Stade Bollaert-Delilis, the Gunners produced their own cover version: Never Mind the Bollaerts, Here's the Six Pistols.

Already No.1 in the Premier League charts, Mikel Arteta's men only needed a point here to reach the knockout - or a win to progress in Europe as top guns in their group. And when it came to planting their standard at the summit in Europe, they made no mistake.

Skipper Martin Odegaard, who has had a rough month hampered by a hip injury, concussion and sickness, observed in his matchday programme notes: “I don't feel like we've found our best form yet this season. That's a great sign - being top of the table in November and still feeling like we haven't really been at our very best yet.”

Bang on cue, Arsenal hit top gear – and better teams than Lens would have struggled to live with them.

Kai Havertz had already shaved the post with a soaring header from Takehiro Tomiyasu's cross when he bundled in his third goal of the season two minutes later.

When Lens, whose ground holds 38,000 – which is 7,000 more than the town's population – couldn't handle another Tomiyasu centre, Gabriel Jesus headed it into the German's path and Havertz poked it beyond former Nottingham Forest keeper Brice Samba from six yards.

Waste of money, that Chelsea reject - £65million down the drain. Yeah, right.

Kai Havertz celebrates scoring for Arsenal during their rout of Lens. (

Sensing a chance to get their night's work done early, the Gunners hammered home their superiority with three goals in six minutes midway through the first half.

First Bukayo Saka weaved into the box, carved through a couple of tissue-paper challenges and Jesus swept his finish beyond Samba. Then Gabriel Martinelli's shot was beaten out by Samba and England winger Saka instinctively mopped up the rebound with his torso.

Lens, whose fans had packed every Eurostar from northern France to St Pancras earlier, were in complete disarray by the time Martinelli cut in off the left flank and curled a sublime finish into the far corner.

Keen to foster the entente cordiale, our friends from across the Channel aimed a hail of missiles at Gunners players who dared to celebrate in front of them and then threw one of the red pyrotechnics they had smuggled inside the Emirates into a section of home supporters. Facundo Medina hit a post from 25 yards as the visitors went through the motions of a fightback, but the damage was done and was would get even worse before the interval.

Gabriel Jesus of Arsenal celebrates (
Getty Images)

Odegaard, arriving unmarked to meet another Tomiyasu cross, volleyed No.5 in first-half added time with team-mates forming an orderly queue to administer the finish. Five different scorers in the opening 45 minutes had never been done in the Champions League before – not even against no hopers like Smorgasbord Rovers or Eskimo Park Rangers.

Inevitably, after a raft of substitutions at the break and with the contest already a foregone conclusion, the intensity dropped.

But with time running out, Lens sub Abdukodir Khusanov's handball gave Jorginho the chance to make it six from the penalty spot after VAR intervention.

And the only mystery among north London's teeth-chattering classes in the first blast of winter remains unsolved: How on earth did the Gunners lose to this shower in the reverse fixture?

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