Harry Kane says the bitter pill of Bayern Munich’s doomed Bundesliga title defence and the prospect of a Wembley final is fuelling his desire for Champions League glory.

Former Tottenham star Kane returned to haunt familiar foes Arsenal by converting a first-half penalty in Tuesday evening’s thrilling quarter-final first leg which ended tantalisingly poised at 2-2.

Bayern’s 11-season run as German champions could be over before next week’s return match with the Gunners as unbeaten runaway leaders Bayer Leverkusen sit 16 points clear with only 18 left to play for.

England captain Kane has understandably written off domestic silverware but retains hope of ending the season on a high under the arch of his country’s national stadium on June 1.

“Look, it’s a competition that the club want to win,” he said.

“Not winning the Bundesliga this year is a tough pill to swallow and it makes this competition even more important but we know there’s still a long way to go.

“We have to find that togetherness, we have to find that team ethic where we grind out games because we haven’t done it enough this year.

“In the Champions League, we’ve done well, had a good campaign but we will need more of that if we want to go all the way to Wembley.”

Kane was cast in the role of pantomime villain at a raucous Emirates Stadium and responded with his 15th career goal against the Gunners to help keep Bayern’s season alive.

The 30-year-old, who now has a remarkable tally of 39 goals this term, sees parallels between his current team’s predicament and when Spurs reached the 2019 Champions League final despite finishing 27 points adrift of champions Manchester City in the top flight.

“That campaign itself is similar because we weren’t having a great time in the league if I’m totally honest,” he said

“But we found some passion and togetherness in the Champions League and we managed to get to the final.

“That experience gives me hope that we can find that again, we know we can perform in the big games and try to get back to the final.

“Being at Wembley is also extra motivation for me personally being my national stadium and it’s still there to try and achieve.”

Bayern departed north London feeling aggrieved after Swedish referee Glenn Nyberg opted against penalising Arsenal defender Gabriel for inexplicably picking up the ball in his own box after a David Raya goal kick in the 67th minute.

Manager Thomas Tuchel branded the decision “horrible”, while Kane and fellow ex-Spurs man Eric Dier were both left bemused.

Arsenal later appealed for an added-time penalty when Bukayo Saka tumbled under a challenge from visiting goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

“It was a stonewall penalty and I don’t know why the ref didn’t give it,” Kane said of the Gabriel incident.

“It would have been strange. But the ref blew the whistle (for play to resume), he (Raya) passed it, he (Gabriel) picked it up, it would have been child like but that’s not our problem.

“The rules are the rules. Maybe they should have had one, we should have had one.”

Bayern’s sense of injustice was heightened by Leandro Trossard’s 76th-minute equaliser after goals from former Arsenal forward Serge Gnabry and Kane overturned Saka’s early opener.

Kane hopes to harness the passion of a packed out Allianz Arena in the second leg, having been relentlessly jeered by home supporters as the six-time European champions played in the absence of travelling fans due to a UEFA sanction.

“I think they have a soft respect for me, the Arsenal fans,” said Kane. “I was a fan when I was younger so I know how it goes and, for me, I just try to perform.

“For some reason, I get a lot of penalties at the Emirates and I’ve been happy I’ve been able to put them away and it will be nice to be at home next and in front of the Munich fans.

“It was hard with no fans, strange to have no-one there for us but I thought we dealt with it well and I think you’ll see them even more excited next week having not been to this game and maybe even louder than they usually are.

“Hopefully we can use that energy to our advantage and really try to put the pressure on.”

Harry Kane knew it was not just Bayern Munich fans who wanted him to score on his return to north London in the Champions League quarter-final first leg against Arsenal.

Tottenham’s record scorer was back at the Emirates Stadium for the first time since leaving Spurs in the summer and scored his customary goal when he converted a first-half penalty to put the German side 2-1 up before half-time.

Kane kept his cool after Leroy Sane had been fouled not long after Serge Gnabry had cancelled out Bukayo Saka’s early opener.

No opposition player has scored more goals at the Emirates than Kane, who scored plenty of penalties for Spurs over the years and he knew his old fans would have been watching.

“I think they have a soft respect for me,” he said of Arsenal fans who were goading him during his interview on TNT Sports.

“I know there wasn’t just Bayern Munich fans watching this game tonight, so maybe there was a little bit more pressure. It is always a tough game.

“I have done a bit of research of the penalties against Porto, he (David Raya) was reading it into the corners early so I had to change my style a little bit.

“It was nice to see him go early and make it easy for me.”

Leandro Trossard’s second-half strike ensured it ended 2-2 and leaves it finely poised for next week’s second leg in Munich.

Kane said: “You have seen it over the last couple of years, probably my last season at Tottenham, they were really strong and had a good go at winning the league.

“They are a really good team, we changed how we defended without the ball. More of a 4-4-2 and had to work and dig deep.

“We know we are playing a top team and they are on top of Premier League for a reason. Tough game.”

The Champions League represents Kane’s only real chance of silverware in his debut season in Munich following his side’s capitulation in the Bundesliga title race.

 

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Despite their poor league campaign, Kane has loved his debut season in Germany, where he has scored 39 goals in 38 matches.

He added: “It’s been an amazing experience, of course the league hasn’t gone the way I or the club would have wanted it to go, but for me personally it has been an amazing experience.

“To see a different culture, to see a different league, it has been a great step in my career.

“The league has gone this year but I am at Munich for a long time and I know we will come back stronger.”

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta believes his side can still beat Bayern Munich after admitting they were below-par in Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first-leg draw.

Leandro Trossard’s late equaliser made it 2-2 at the Emirates after goals from former Gunner Serge Gnabry and ex-Tottenham striker Harry Kane overturned Bukayo Saka’s early opener.

That means it is all to play for in Munich next week and Arteta said on TNT Sports: “I have a lot of belief we can go there and beat them. We have to prepare really well.

“We scored a really good goal and then after that is the moment of the game when Ben (White) is in front of (Manuel) Neuer and if we make it 2-0 it would be a very different match.

“After that the ball is open, we gave it to the opponent and they scored. That created some uncertainty.

“The second goal as well is unusual for us to concede but this is the Champions League, if you make a mistake you get punished.

“A lot of things today we have not done to the standards we usually do and that has allowed them spaces to run and they are very dangerous.

“The Champions League, if you give something they take it.”

Arsenal felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the final moments when Saka looked to have been fouled by Neuer but the referee waved away protests and VAR confirmed the decision.

Arteta said: “(The referee) didn’t say anything. They said they checked it and they decided it wasn’t a penalty.”

Harry Kane was denied a fairytale return to north London as Arsenal hit back to claim a 2-2 draw from an exhilarating Champions League quarter-final first leg with Bayern Munich.

Tottenham’s all-time record scorer claimed his 15th career goal in 20 appearances against the Gunners by converting a first-half penalty to put the German club on course for victory at a raucous Emirates Stadium.

But substitute Leandro Trossard left the tie perfectly poised ahead of next week’s return match with a 76th-minute equaliser after Bukayo Saka’s early opener was cancelled out by former Arsenal forward Serge Gnabry.

Six-time European champions Bayern almost snatched a 90th-minute winner when Kingsley Coman struck a post, while Saka was denied an added-time spot-kick following a challenge from Manuel Neuer in a breathless finale.

England captain Kane played the role of pantomime villain throughout and, aside from registering his 39th goal of a remarkable season, could have been sent off for swinging an elbow into the neck of Gabriel.

Amid an Islamic State terror threat, Bayern arrived in England on the cusp of relinquishing the Bundesliga title for the first time in 12 seasons having slipped 16 points adrift of runaway leaders Bayer Leverkusen.

The presence of ex-Tottenham pair Kane and Eric Dier, plus Gnabry, added extra intrigue to a mouthwatering match while the sold-out stadium was without travelling fans due to a UEFA sanction imposed for supporters throwing fireworks on to the pitch in Bayern’s last-16 win over Lazio.

Thomas Tuchel’s men were greeted by a deafening noise from the partisan crowd and the ground was rocking with just 12 minutes on the clock thanks to Saka’s magic.

The England international was freed inside Bayern’s area by Ben White following defensive dithering and duly produced a sumptuous first-time curling finish into the bottom left corner to spark jubilation in the stands.

White should have recreated those scenes when he squandered a golden chance by firing straight at fit-again Bayern goalkeeper Neuer after being slipped clear by Kai Havertz before the Gunners gifted their opponents an 18th-minute equaliser.

Gabriel sloppily conceded possession following a miscommunication with David Raya, culminating in Gnabry latching on to Leon Goretzka’s through-ball to finish through the legs of the Gunners keeper.

Arsenal came into this stage of the competition for the first time since 2010 on the back of four consecutive clean sheets.

But their usually reliable backline once again creaked in costly fashion with half an hour played as Kane delighted in silencing the terraces.

Leroy Sane’s mazy run from halfway was halted only by the dangled leg of William Saliba and, after Raya moved early, Kane coolly rolled the ball into the bottom right corner from 12 yards to further torment Spurs’ fiercest rivals.

Following the euphoria of the early breakthrough, Arsenal could easily have been two goals behind at the break as the last-ditch attempts of White and Martin Odegaard were required to deny Sane when clean through.

Arsenal returned to the field with renewed purpose but struggling to create.

Kane escaped with a booked after catching Gabriel before later seeing a long-range effort deflect wide as Bayern remained a threat on the break.

With time ticking away and a frustrating evening on the cards, Mikel Arteta’s Premier League leaders levelled.

Gabriel Jesus worked space inside Bayern’s box before teeing up fellow replacement Trossard to slot into the bottom left corner beyond Neuer and raise the decibel levels.

Bayern substitute Coman poked against the frame of the goal as a helter-skelter encounter threatened another twist before Swedish referee Glenn Nyberg was booed off for failing to punish Neuer’s potential trip on Saka.

UEFA insists this week’s Champions League quarter-final ties will go ahead as scheduled amid an Islamic State terror threat.

Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium will host the first leg of the Gunners’ last-eight tie against Bayern Munich on Tuesday evening, while Manchester City are also in action away to Real Madrid.

A media outlet linked to the terror group has issued a threat concerning all four of this week’s ties, and European football’s governing body UEFA has now issued a statement on the matter.

“UEFA is aware of alleged terrorist threats made towards this week’s UEFA Champions League matches and is closely liaising with the authorities at the respective venues,” the statement said.

“All matches are planned to go ahead as scheduled with appropriate security arrangements in place.”

Mikel Arteta hailed a “magic night” at the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal beat Porto 4-2 on penalties to reach first Champions League quarter-final in 14 years.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg in Portugal, a goal from Leandro Trossard just before half-time levelled the tie late in the first half, but there Arsenal’s momentum stalled as they failed to wrap the game up inside 90 minutes.

After a nervous extra-time it took heroics from goalkeeper David Raya, saving twice in the shoot-out, to put the hosts into the last-eight for the first time since Arsene Wenger’s team faced Barcelona in 2010.

“A magic night,” said Arteta. “We expected a really tough opponent. It’s very difficult to generate momentum and that’s credit to them.

“It’s a huge experience for us. We had to do it as well through penalties. Credit to David who had some difficult moments to start but showed incredible determination and stood up and got rewarded.”

Arsenal, roared on by a home support determined to drag their team through, began with urgency befitting of their predicament, but they suffered a frustrating first half.

Not until four minutes before the break did the second leg tip their way, and the goal was brilliantly made by Martin Odegaard, receiving the ball from Trossard 30-yards out and taking four Porto players out of the game with a superb slide-rule pass.

There on the end of if was Trossard, skipping in off the left and sliding it cooly past Diogo Costa for 1-0.

Odegaard thought he’d given Arsenal the lead in the tie when he tapped into an empty goal in the second half, only for his effort to be ruled out for a foul by Kai Havertz on veteran defender Pepe. A furious Arteta was booked for his protests.

Gabriel Jesus came off the bench and almost settled things with his first touch, goalkeeper Costa spreading himself well and deflecting his effort wide, before Odegaard shot inches past the post after the goalkeeper beat out Bukayo Saka’s shot.

Porto’s threat on the break lingered throughout the ensuing extra 30 minutes, though penalties had long looked the likeliest destination.

So it proved, and it was goalkeeper Raya who was the hero, saving from defender Wendell and first-leg match-winner Galeno to send Arsenal through.

“For (the players) to do it when the club hasn’t done it for 14 years, I tell you it will be a boost,” said Arteta. “The margins are so small.

“I see how much they want it, how much they try and they are able to sacrifice anything to win. When you play like this at the end good things are going to come your way.

“It’s another big step (in the season), especially as a club. For seven years we haven’t been in this competition and for 14 years we haven’t got this far. That tells you the difficulty of it. We want more and we’re going to go for it that’s for sure.

“It’s the first time that I’ve done it in the Champions League. I try to learn every day, get advice and that’s why you have good people around you, great coaches around you as well to help you and make you better.”

Porto boss Sergio Conceicao was involved with an altercation on the pitch with Arteta at the end of the game, and gave a terse explanation of what was said.

“During the game, (Arteta) turned to the bench and in Spanish – it must be a Spanish coach thing because it was the same thing with (Pep) Guardiola – he insulted my family,” he said.

“In the end I told him to pay attention because who he insulted is no longer with us, and to worry about coaching his team, because due to individual quality he has an obligation to do more and better.”

Mikel Arteta admitted Arsenal need a psychological “reset” after they could not capitalise on chances in their 2-0 FA Cup third-round loss to Liverpool at the Emirates.

The Gunners dominated the first half but Jakub Kiwior conceded an own goal after 80 minutes before Luis Diaz’s neat finish in second half added-time was enough for Jurgen Klopp’s men to claim victory.

Arteta’s side now have just one win in seven matches across all competitions and the boss agreed his side risk falling into a mental slump after failing to find the finishing touch.

He said: “Probably it has (become a psychological issue). Especially after today, more than it was against Fulham or West Ham before that. That’s why I think we need to reset. This break is good. It comes in a good time.

“We’re going to as well feel how we feel and how I feel about them in difficult moments. Hopefully I can see that from other people too. When things are going well they jump on the train. Now things are difficult, let’s see where they stand.

“We haven’t capitalised. Not just today, but in the last few games as well. That’s why we’re not winning games. Merit-wise there is no question that we deserve to win the games but the results are very different.

“But when my team plays with that courage and attitude against probably the best team in Europe right now in terms of momentum what can I do but stick by them and support them?

“What we need to do now is stick behind those players, give them some love, train them and make sure they visualise something very different to what is actually happening now. They’ve done it. We’re not going to reinvent the wheel, because they’ve done it.”

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was delighted by his side’s second-half reply, but brushed aside any suggestion he might look at the result as a harbinger for the Premier League title race, or even a boost for the Reds’ confidence in that chase.

He said: “No. I can’t (read into it). It doesn’t mean nobody can, but I can’t. We don’t have a problem with belief and confidence, we are not really bothered about the things you are talking about because we can read the calendar.

“We see it’s January; it’s cold outside, stuff like this, and you just have to stay warm and play as good as you can, and that’s what we try.”

Klopp was more forthcoming about his squad, rattling off a list of injured and absent, including Virgil van Dijk, who was ruled out with illness before the contest but remains a “hopeful” return for Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg with Fulham.

He added: “It’s a tough game, nobody comes to Arsenal and wins just like this [clicks fingers], so in this game there will be difficult moments [and] if we start in these moments – which humans very often do – [looking] for excuses and then we realise who else is not here, it’s normal that we have these problems, then we are screwed.

“But if you know these kinds of things you can avoid it – and that’s what we did. The boys enjoyed the game, at least in the second half. That’s really cool. Staying in a game that looked in the first half like that, then growing into a game, is a pretty special thing to do.”

Mikel Arteta admitted his side came up short in both boxes as Arsenal slumped to defeat to West Ham to miss out on regaining top spot in the Premier League.

The Gunners remain behind Liverpool as they lost 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on what Arteta conceded was one of the most frustrating nights of his four-year tenure as Arsenal boss.

Tomas Soucek’s opener – awarded after the VAR could not determine whether the whole ball had gone out of play in the build up – and a second-half header from former Arsenal defender Konstantinos Mavropanos earned the visitors a deserved win.

Things could have been even better had Said Benrahma not had a stoppage-time penalty saved by David Raya on a night where Arteta applauded the performances of the opposition.

“I congratulate West Ham and praise my players. That’s what I can tell you,” he said.

“This is football. When you look at how much we generated in the game, to see the result is very disappointing. But they were better than us in both boxes. They had two shots, with the penalty three. We had 30.

“If we don’t score with 30 shots, then we have to do 50 or 60 to try to score. That’s the only thing. I can’t imagine a game where we have more touches in the box, more dominance and less situations for the opponent against a really good West Ham side. Today though, it wasn’t enough to win the game.”

Asked if it was among the most frustrating nights of his managerial career, Arteta replied: “It is. But it’s football. Normally when the team generates so much it’s going to win games.

“That’s the way we’ve done it. Against Brighton, we generated so much and against Liverpool as well, but we score goals in different ways.

“We have to make another step in that area to win games more comfortably, that’s for sure, because today the team deserves to win the game. There’s no question about that.”

Arteta successfully fought a Football Association charge after he criticised the officiating and VAR in defeat at Newcastle last month and was less vocal this time.

He did, however, suggest technology needs to be further advanced to make close calls, adding: “They’re saying it’s not conclusive. It’s a shame that with the technology that we have, that it’s not that clear so that we can say whether it’s out or in. It’s done. It’s gone. There’s nothing we can do about it now.

“If the technology we have at the moment is not good enough to give us that answer, what we have to do is without that win the game. With the number of situations we generated in the game, that should have been more than enough.”

For West Ham and manager David Moyes, this was a rare taste of victory at the Emirates Stadium – Moyes had failed to secure victory in his previous 72 Premier League away games at Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool or Manchester United.

West Ham were 17th at the turn of the year but went on to win the Europa Conference League and now sit just four points off the top four after this hard-fought and deserved win.

Moyes is out of contract in the summer but, on the four-year anniversary of his reappointment as West Ham boss, feels a new deal will soon be ironed out.

“We’re getting ready to talk,” he told Amazon Prime.

“I don’t think any of us are jumping to get it done too quickly, I think we are just happy to make sure we get it done. We will do, I don’t see any problems with that at all.

“We are not one of the top teams. We are trying to get up and grow the team. For West Ham to be in Europe is a great period.”

Arsenal missed the chance to return to the top of the Premier League as they slipped to a disappointing defeat to West Ham amid more VAR controversy.

The Gunners needed victory to replace Liverpool at the summit but lost 2-0 by the Hammers on a night where David Moyes finally landed a victory at the Emirates Stadium.

His West Ham side lost Kurt Zouma ahead of the game and Lucas Paqueta after just over half an hour but hit the front through Tomas Soucek’s strike, awarded after VAR could not determine whether the whole ball had gone out of play in the build-up.

A second-half header from former Arsenal defender Konstantinos Mavropanos secured the points and things could have been even better for the visitors had Said Benrahma not seen a last-gasp penalty saved by David Raya.

Moyes had failed to secure victory in his previous 72 Premier League away games at Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool or Manchester United, so this was a long time coming for the Scot.

Arsenal laboured when they needed to continue their recent winning run in London derbies to go back to the top of the table.

Instead, only captain Martin Odegaard could hold his head high on a night where their defence creaked and Gabriel Jesus was guilty of missing a couple of very good chances.

Arsenal started well, with some great touches in and around the West Ham box from Odegaard in particular.

But at the other end their defending left a lot to be desired, as Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Magalhaes failed to deal with a simple ball into the middle.

Jarrod Bowen capitalised by latching onto the miscue and teed up Soucek to finish – the goal surviving a lengthy VAR check which could not ultimately make a call on if the ball had not gone out of play before Bowen’s cutback.

Arsenal looked to respond although the goal gave West Ham something to defend, although Jesus found a way in behind with a subtle flick into Bukayo Saka, whose header was brilliantly saved by Alphonse Areola.

Paqueta had been hurt in the warm-up and lasted just over half an hour, with his fellow Brazilian Gabriel Martinelli curling an effort just wide for Arsenal as they continued in vain to find a leveller.

The hosts were getting closer, West Ham gifting possession as two passes saw Arsenal in on goal once more, this time Saka hitting the base of the post from an acute angle.

Former West Ham captain Declan Rice fired just over from 25 yards but it was another player coming back to haunt his former club who would find the back of the net soon after.

Mavropanos made just seven league starts in three years as an Arsenal player but returned to the Premier League last summer with the Hammers and headed them two goals ahead before the hour.

Jesus then headed straight at Areola before sending another fine chance well over the bar moments after Arteta introduced Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson off the bench.

Areola was on hand again to keep out a Leandro Trossard effort, with Vladimir Coufal clearing a William Saliba header off the line from the resulting corner.

Rice had come off the bench during a 3-0 Carabao Cup defeat on his return to West Ham earlier in the season and endured another night to forget here as he conceded a late penalty for tripping Emerson Palmieri in the box – only for Raya to keep out substitute Benrahma’s tame spot-kick.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta believes Brighton’s impressive showing in Europe proves just how strong the Premier League has become.

The Seagulls travel to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday just three days on from a late win over Marseille that saw Roberto De Zerbi’s team qualify in top spot from their Europa League group.

Arsenal – who themselves won their Champions League group – were roundly beaten by Brighton in the corresponding fixture last season, with the 3-0 loss all-but ending their Premier League title hopes.

Arteta feels Brighton have “evolved” since last year and, along with West Ham and Aston Villa also topping their respective European groups, knows the standard in the Premier League makes any fixture a challenge.

Asked if the league is now tougher than ever, the Spaniard replied: “I think so.

“Not only with those teams but you have to really sweat and suffer to win any game in this league. You have examples every week, the margins of how teams are winning games is minimal.

“They are a really good side. Last year when we had the game under control, we conceded a goal and then the game completely broke up and we struggled, especially in the last 15 minutes of the game, so we have to play better and be very efficient, which is key against them.

“A lot of things happened that day as well. We were missing some key, key players and we lost Gabriel Martinelli straight away before half-time. A lot of things happened.

“The margin was none. Losing any points and the title was almost over and we had to cope with that. Now, the situation is very different because it’s still a marathon to go.”

Arteta will be back in the dugout for the game after watching from the stand as Arsenal lost at Aston Villa last time out having received three yellow cards this season.

An animated character on the touchline, Arteta may have met his match in De Zerbi – but he is a bit of a fan of his Brighton counterpart.

“We live the game as we feel it,” he added.

“When I was a player, it was very similar. Everybody has their own way of being, talking and communicating. I think it’s great. As long as we’re genuine, I think that’s great.

“I know him and have spoken to him a few times about different topics. I’ve followed his career since he was at Sassuolo, before he moved to Ukraine.

“It’s very impressive what he’s done, the way his teams play and what he’s accomplished in the Premier League as well.”

Mikel Arteta admitted it was a “genuine dream” watching Arsenal’s dominant 6-0 victory over Lens at the Emirates Stadium which saw them qualify for the Champions League last 16.

The Gunners topped Group B with a game to spare after they battered their French opponents with six different goalscorers.

Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard struck in the first half before Jorginho added their sixth from the penalty spot late on.

Arsenal boss Arteta talked up his team’s determination which secured the club’s 100th Champions League victory.

“It was a genuine dream,” Arteta said.

“We had a chance to qualify today and we’ve done it in a really convincing way against a really good side. The team from the beginning showed a lot of aggression and determination to go for the game.

“It’s great we’re able to win in this way and we showed at home not to concede any goals and score a lot which is a positive factor. The players need to believe we can do that against big opponents.”

The Spaniard noted that qualification with a game to spare allows him to rotate in Arsenal’s final group fixture against PSV Eindhoven on December 12.

Arteta added: “Every time we play a football match we’ll prepare in the best way but it will give us some room now certainly in relation to the state of the squad by being able to use certain players more or less.”

Havertz scored his second in as many games after the German netted a dramatic late winner in Saturday’s 1-0 Premier League victory at Brentford.

The attacker’s influence in recent games has impressed Arteta after a difficult start to life in north London since his reported £65million move from Chelsea in the summer.

“Kai again scored two goals in two games and that’s really good for the confidence of the player,” he added.

“He’s scoring goals, playing well, participating in wins. Those are positive attributes and you can see the reception of his team-mates and the crowd singing his name and being with him in every positive action.

“These are good things that are going to help him show why he’s a tremendous player.”

Declan Rice had another flawless game in midfield and Arteta applauded the England international’s consistency and decision-making.

He said: “He was superb again today with the consistency and understanding of the game that he’s showing.

“The decision-making all the time and the action and timing to win the ball back is so good.”

Arsenal stylishly cruised into the Champions League knockout stages as Group B winners by thrashing French club Lens 6-0 at Emirates Stadium.

The Premier League leaders kicked off needing just a point to reach the last 16 of the competition following PSV Eindhoven’s 3-2 comeback win at Sevilla earlier on Wednesday evening.

Mikel Arteta’s men duly delivered in devastating fashion thanks to first-half goals from Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus, Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard.

Substitute Jorginho completed the scoring with a late penalty, awarded following VAR intervention for a handball by Abdukodir Khusanov.

A one-sided encounter in north London was marred slightly by visiting fans throwing a lit flare at home supporters in the aftermath of Saka’s 23rd-minute strike.

With first place in the pool emphatically secured with a game to spare, Gunners boss Arteta now has the luxury of being able to rotate his squad for next month’s visit to Eindhoven amid a hectic December fixture list which could determine the seriousness of his side’s title ambitions.

The Spaniard made just two changes from Saturday’s dramatic 1-0 win at Brentford, which moved the Gunners top of the table.

Havertz was recalled as reward for his late winner against the Bees, while on-loan goalkeeper David Raya was restored having been cup-tied against his parent club.

Arsenal controlled proceedings from the first whistle and quickly blew away last season’s Ligue 1 runners-up.

The recalled Havertz, who had already headed narrowly wide, capitalised on static defending to open the scoring in the 13th minute, poking beyond France keeper Brice Samba from close range following Jesus’ nod down.

Lens’ vocal travelling support responded by throwing a pyrotechnic device on to the field before quickly seeing the game run away from their outclassed team.

Jesus doubled the hosts’ advantage in the 21st minute, calmly sidestepping Kevin Danso and coolly slotting past Samba following strong running from Saka.

England forward Saka quickly added to the punishment by finishing with his left thigh on the rebound after Samba poorly parried Martinelli’s initial effort.

That unorthodox finish led to unsavoury scenes as an active flare was launched from the away end into home spectators in the tier above.

Dominant Arsenal continued to shine brighter on the pitch and Martinelli lit up the contest with a wonderful fourth with only 27 minutes on the clock.

The Brazil international raced away down the left flank and then cut inside Przemyslaw Frankowski to curl a sumptuous finish into the far corner.

Arsenal’s first defeat of the season came in the reverse fixture in northern France at the start of October.

On this evidence, most inside the ground must have been wondering how, albeit Lens’ Facundo Medina rattled the right post from distance during a rare foray forward.

That proved to a fleeting moment of positivity for the away side, who went into the break 5-0 down after Odegaard expertly volleyed home Takehiro Tomiyasu’s cross.

Arteta used a more subdued second period to rest some of his star names, with Saka and the outstanding Declan Rice among those withdrawn.

Substitute Reiss Nelson came close to adding to the visitors’ embarrassment but his deflected effort was repelled by former Nottingham Forest keeper Samba.

Lens’ misery was completed four minutes from time when Jorginho calmly sent Samba the wrong way from the spot after substitute Khusanov was punished for handling on review.

Arsenal announced they would become the first Premier League club to welcome fans in for a competitive fixture since March following the coronavirus pandemic, on this day in 2020.

The north London club confirmed 2,000 spectators were to be allowed in for their Europa League match against Rapid Vienna the following week.

The Gunners learned Emirates Stadium was to be in tier two of the Government’s new regionalised approach to tackling the coronavirus pandemic, and were able to welcome fans in for the clash with the Austrian side.

A club statement read: “It’s been almost nine long months since we had fans in attendance at Emirates Stadium and our matches have simply not been the same without you.

“While we appreciate that reduced capacity matches will be far from being ‘back to normal’, we can’t wait to welcome our fans back home for what will be a historic moment for the club.”

This was the first time fans have been able to watch a Premier League side in action since the first coronavirus lockdown saw the 2019-20 season pause in March.

In the match itself, Arsenal eased to a 4-1 victory.

The Gunners had already booked their place in the knockout stages, but a comfortable win meant they finished at the top of Group B.

Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring with an impressive long-range strike before Pablo Mari, returning to the team for the first time since suffering an ankle injury in June, headed in a second, with academy graduates Eddie Nketiah and Emile Smith Rowe adding the gloss either side of Kohya Kitagawa’s consolation.

Mikel Arteta made a point of praising the officials and VAR as 10-man Arsenal beat Burnley to move level with Premier League leaders Manchester City,

Fabio Vieira was sent off late on for a high challenge on Josh Brownhill, who had earlier cancelled out a brave Leandro Trossard opener.

But Arsenal had already secured the points by the time Vieira was dismissed, William Saliba heading them back in front before Oleksandr Zinchenko secured the points with an acrobatic volley.

Arteta could yet face a Football Association charge after he criticised the officials during a 1-0 loss at Newcastle last week, having been asked to provide his observations having called the winning goal “embarrassing” and a “disgrace.

Here, though, he was keen to play to the gallery and made sure he hammered home his praise of the referees.

“With the red card… yes, VAR was right, he said.

“The referee was right. Really good decision, really positive from Mikel to speak about that! Good decision.”

He later added to talkSPORT: “Please ask me about VAR because today it was good.

“I hope that I’m on TV saying the referees are so good and I’m completely with them and being very constructive.”

Trossard was the difference-maker for the Gunners, the Belgium international once again starting as the central striker and breaking the deadlock with a close-range finish that saw him clatter into Burnley goalkeeper James Trafford and the post.

He recovered to lay on the corner from which Saliba scored and it was another Trossard set-piece that led to Zinchenko’s fine scissor-kick.

“I think he connects everybody. He’s so intelligent,” Arteta said of Trossard.

“I think he moves in ways that attracts people that generates spaces and options for people.

“Today he did that really good because it was so difficult and the spaces were so small to attack. He gave us a lot of threat and possibilities to connect and find spaces for us.

“He put your body on the line if it’s necessary, and that was it. It’s the 1,000th goal at the Emirates – a beautiful number.

“I’m very happy with him. I think every time you ask him to play whether it’s wide or as a nine, it flows and he has a real threat. So I’m really happy with him.”

Burnley could end the weekend bottom of the table after a 10th defeat in 12 league games since their return to the top flight.

But manager Vincent Kompany believes the Clarets continue to show resilience in their battle against the drop.

“We were solid first half. To concede the way we conceded is avoidable. It’s football. Good teams are there for a reason,” he said.

“Our team is as hard working as you like and resilient as you like. The club is filled with good, hard-working people. In the games we’re not expecting to have their level but we want to give ourselves a chance. This team wants to embrace this challenge.”

Oleksandr Zinchenko scored the pick of the goals as 10-man Arsenal secured a comfortable win over Burnley to move level on points with Premier League leaders Manchester City.

Mikel Arteta’s side took advantage of rivals Tottenham losing earlier in the day to pick-up a 3-1 victory over struggling Burnley, whose captain Josh Brownhill cancelled out Leandro Trossard’s brave opener at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal reacted well to being pegged back and William Saliba headed them level just three minutes later before Zinchenko’s scissor kick wrapped up the points, although the hosts did lose Fabio Vieira to a late red card.

Despite several injury doubts heading into the game, Arteta made just one alteration as Zinchenko replaced the unfit Ben White in defence as Bukayo Saka was deemed fit enough to start despite limping off in Wednesday’s 2-0 Champions League win over Sevilla.

The England winger had a great effort well saved by James Trafford as Arsenal set their stall out to attack from the off.

They would be frustrated, however, by a Burnley defence already at the stage of throwing themselves in front of shots and making last-ditch blocks before the half-hour mark, Saka time and again finding space and Kai Havertz also drifting in to cause trouble.

Havertz, still without a goal from open play since his £65million move from Chelsea, headed wide a glorious chance from a corner before Burnley threatened for the first time.

A rare mistake from Saliba gifted the ball to Johann Gudmundsson, who raced through on goal to force David Raya into a good, low stop.

Trossard was the next Arsenal player denied by Trafford, his effort from range tipped over the bar after Declan Rice had robbed Brownhill of possession in a dangerous area of the pitch.

The Belgium international was deployed as a central striker once again and gave the hosts the lead with his sixth goal of the campaign, turning home Saka’s header from close-range as he crashed into Trafford and the frame of the goal in the process.

Burnley were level nine minutes after the restart, Brownhill firing home after good work from Luca Koleosho led to the ball breaking for Brownhill, whose finish flashed in off Gabriel Magalhaes.

The goal stood despite a VAR check for a potential foul on Takehiro Tomiyasu but to Arsenal’s credit, they did not let the equaliser play on their minds.

In fact, the goal seemed to stun Arsenal back into life and Gabriel Martinelli broke clear only to fire straight at Trafford.

The lead was restored from the resulting corner as Saliba moved in front of Trafford to rise and head home Trossard’s delivery from close-range.

Zinchenko’s strike came from another Trossard corner as Dara O’Shea first headed the ball against his own crossbar before clearing into the path of the Ukraine captain, who finished acrobatically.

Burnley tried to find a way back into the game and were given some hope when substitute Vieira was dismissed, shown a straight red card by Michael Oliver for a high challenge on Brownhill.

Arsenal, though, saw out the remainder of the contest to join City on 27 points ahead of the champions’ trip to Chelsea on Sunday.

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