Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Arsenal 2 - Napoli 0 (CL)

In a very tough Champion's League group, Arsenal have made it two out of two. Having beaten Marseille away, today they made a strong Napoli side look very average. In the first half, Arsenal put on a footballing clinic with very sharp passing and movement leading to the two first half goals, including the first goal in a Gunners uniform for Mesut Ozil. Olivier Giroud showed great touch putting Aaron Ramsey in the clear down the right side; and Ramsey cut the ball back across the area to a free-running Ozil, who made a tough chance look easy, as he dispatched the ball past the keeper from about 18 yards out. Having scored the first, Ozil set up the second a few minutes later with a beautiful cross that Giroud could hardly help striking home from just a few yards out.

After that, it looked as if Arsenal might run rampant against a Napoli side playing without new striker Gonzalo Higuain, who Arsene Wenger targeted during the summer transfer window but ultimately declined to sign. Napoli managed not to concede again before halftime, despite Arsenal's domination of possession and shots on goal.

When the teams came out for the second half, I'm sure everyone expected Napoli to come out with more fire in their bellies. After all, 2-0 is hardly an insurmountable lead, and Arsenal do not often keep a clean sheet. The Italian squad's fans must have been sorely disappointed, as Napoli hardly threatened the Arsenal goal. For their part, the Gunners did not match the intensity of their first-half performance, but they didn't need to. They fairly coasted home to an easy 2-0 win against a top European opponent.

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