Arsenal FC vs Napoli report: Arsenal FC Match report
Arsenal comfortably brushed aside Serie A side Napoli in the first leg of the Europa League quarterfinals. The Gunners take a 2-0 lead into the away leg, thanks to goals from Aaron Ramsey and Lucas Torreira in the first half.
The Gunners started off the game as the better side, with the visitors failing to get on the ball in the first few minutes of the game. The first chance of the game fell to the hosts as Kolasinac stormed down the left flank to cross it into the box but Aaron Ramsey’s shot was blocked by Koulibaly.
However, the Welshman didn’t have to wait too long as the Gunners beautifully sliced Napoli apart to take the lead. A wonderful move started and finished by Aaron Ramsey involved as many as 3 other players, as Arsenal deservedly went one up.
Arsenal’s constant pressure off the ball really troubled Napoli as the visitors misplaced a number of passes in the first half. Petr Cech remained a spectator for most of the first half as Napoli failed to even get into the Gunners’ half.
Lucas Torreira doubled Arsenal’s lead in the 25th minute after a brilliant piece of skill to shift the ball onto his left foot before firing a shot at goal. The Uruguayan’s strike took a massive deflection off Koulibaly but Unai Emery’s side couldn’t care less.
Arsenal quickly had another chance after Torreira found Kolasinac outside the box from his corner and the Bosnian’s cushioned to pass to Aubameyang whose shot was smartly saved by Meret.
Chances came quick and fast for the Gunners as Aubameyang cut inside from the left flank but his pass was made a meal of by Lacazette from the edge of the box.
Arsenal should have been out of sight by this point but Carlo Ancelotti’s side will consider themselves incredibly lucky as the teams went in at the break with the Gunners deservedly 2-0 up.
Ancelotti’s half-time team talk certainly looked to have a positive impact as Napoli started off the second half brightly. Lorenzo Insigne was set free on the left flank but his cross was well blocked by Koscielny.
Ruiz was the next to try his luck as his driving run followed by a shot found Insigne in the back, who finished from close range. But the flag went up and the goal was disallowed.
After 10 minutes of pressure from Napoli, the Gunners regained control of the game as Mesut Ozil brilliantly brought a lob down before setting Aubameyang free but the forward’s shot was blocked by Allan.
The Gunners played the following corner short and the ball fell into the path of Aaron Ramsey, whose fierce strike was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Meret.
Nacho Monreal was the next Arsenal player to have a chance as his header from a corner went inches over the bar. Napoli, just like in the first half, struggled massively with Arsenal’s constant pressing and Ancelotti was left fuming on the touchline.
Napoli’s first chance of the game fell to Zielinski after a brilliant cross by Insigne but the Pole failed to tap in from close range. Arsenal were incredibly lucky to not concede in that move.
Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were introduced by Unai Emery to provide more width to the Gunners’ front line and the move had a positive impact as the Armenian kept bursting through the middle.
Arsenal’s last good chance fell to Aaron Ramsey after some good work from Mkhitaryan and Maitland-Niles on the right flank but the Welshman fired his shot over the box.
Arsenal withstood a final flurry of attack from the visitors to take a deserved victory but the Gunners could regret the chances that they missed.
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Here’s how some Arsenal fans reacted to the victory: