Arsenal 2 Napoli 0
( Özil 8, Giroud 12 )

Mesut Özil scored his first Arsenal goal to set the Gunners on a victory path that couldn’t have been easier at this level. Olivier Giroud added an Arsenal second and within twelve minutes of this Champions League Group F tie at the Emirates stadium, the game was effectively over. Napoli were hampered from the ouset with the omission of one time Arsenal target Gonzalo Higuain suffering the effects of a calf injury picked up at the week end. The win ensures Arsenal’s winning tally in all competitions reads as ten out of ten. Rarely in recent seasons had the feel good Emirates factors been this high.

The energy level was high, as was the expectation at the Emirates stadium on Tuesday night, and Arsenal were clinically efficient and ruthless in front of goal. Two goals to the good and the fans expectations were even higher as Aaron Ramsey went close on three occasions, but could not find the target – a rarity for the prolific Welshman this season. Jack Wilshere was left of the substitutes bench, with Arsene Wenger equipping the Gunners’ midfield with the steel of Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta. Özil had license to roam, and his quality passes often took out one or two of the Napoli defenders, and this would prove to be a positive Wenger ploy.

Arsenal were positive from the outset. An exchange of passes saw Giroud intelligently pick out Ramsey on the right. The Arsenal number 16 hared away and found Özil with a precision pass from. The German midfielder found the exact pace and weight on the ball for a volley that flew past Pepe Reina.

Inspired by Özil, Arsenal went searching for more. We waited for the Serie A side to mount an attack of note, but still they produced nothing of the quality we had expected. Instead Arsenal doubled their lead. Özil once again controlled the ball and found Giroud in a congested area. Such is the form of the France striker, that he simply hit low and again, beyond Reina’s reach. Looking on Rafael Benitez couldn’t quite believe how easy his side were being picked apart, and the only surprise was that the Gunners didn’t add more to their tally. It was Özil who had inspired Arsenal to master Napoli, to leave his manger delighted on a memorable Champions League night, that sees the Gunners top of their table, with maximum points after two games.

Wenger was delighted with Arsenal’s performance, and Özil’s in particular. He said. ” I think he is like the team. He had an outstanding first half where you had everything you want to see from a great player – individual skill, team play, finishing, final ball. Just there and enjoy it. I loved him as well in Madrid, I thought he was great in Madrid, and we are just lucky to have got him.

” I believe as well that he enjoys playing football and you could see that. He enjoys to play with his partners, he has integrated very quickly into the team, with the mentality. He came as well in a period where we are doing well and that maybe made it easier.”

Asked if he could remember the last time Arsenal played this well in the opening 45 minutes, Wenger was cautious.

“I don’t know. Certainly at home, it is one of the best halves we have played for a long time. But as well I think in the Champions League, the games you see are a bit different. I would be tempted to say last time we played Barcelona here, but when you play in the Champions League at home, the teams come and try to play as well. In the championship, in the Premier League, most of the time you are against a team that defends, that waits for you, so you have to be patient. Tonight, in the Champions League, it was a bit more an open game.”

Benitez bemoaned mistakes by his side, but Wenger’s men were physically superior in all departments.

” I think they maybe suffered in the first half and they chased the ball a lot in the first half and that took a lot out of them. They didn’t give up in the second half, I just felt in the last 15 minutes they were tired. But once you are 2-0 down away in the Champions League, as long as you don’t come back to 2-1, it’s difficult. But they are a very good team. I count Napoli as well, it will be a difficult trip for us to go to Napoli, certainly it will be of course a big fight.”