Arsenal 2 Naploi 0
Ramsey 14, Koulibaly og 25

Aaron Ramsey shone as Arsenal beat Napoli 2-0 in their Europa League quarter-final first leg at the Emirates. The former Wales captain got the Gunners off to a perfect start, slotting home after a neat move from the right after 14 minutes. The Gunners were at their imperious first half best, and when Lucas Torreira won possession and let fly with a shot which caught Kalidou Koulibaly to fly past Alex Meret for the second goal, Arsenal were in complete control and looked odds on to get even more goals. Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ramsey had efforts which could have given Arsenal a bigger first leg lead, but Meret made some fine saves to keep the score at 2-0.

Laurent Koscielny and Torreira returned for the Gunners on a night when the Premier League loss at Everton a few days earlier had to be put aside. Judging by the fast opening, Arsenal were keen to get the frustration of that loss out of their system, and with Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leading the line ahead of a four man attack minded midfield including Ramsey and Torreira with Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac on the flanks, Napoli would always be up against it.

Initial Arsenal forays looked to isolate Mario Rui at left back for the visitors. He was getting an initial going over, but Koulibaly was on hand to tidy up. The first Arsenal goal was being threatened, and after 14 minutes, it duly arrived.

Özil and Lacazette exchanged passes deep in the Napoli half, with the advancing Maitland-Niles then teeing up Ramsey to strike home from 12 yards out. Ramsey is enjoying his football as his Arsenal career has bizarrely been allowed to come to an end for a switch to Juventus next season. Serie A will be the better for him in it, and Arsenal it seems must have an amazing player to bring in for the departing Ramsey.

On 25 minutes, Arsenal doubled their lead. Torreira won possession and let fly with a low shot which caught the unfortunate Koulibaly before going in past Meret for a 2-0 scoreline.

Napoli fizzed and fired high and wide of the target. Petr Cech wasn’t really troubled by efforts from Lorenzo Insigne, and when there was doubt, the Czech Republic keeper just put his boot through the ball rather than play out to his defenders.

Ramsey was in the mood for more. Meret however was producing some high quality saves, denying the Arsenal number 8, with one save from which Nacho Monreal headed over from the resultant corner.

Unai Emery saw Ozil have another good game, and when he’s like this, the German is a high quality act.

On came Iwobi fo Lacazette and Mkhitaryan for Ozil, with Emery maybe now having an eye on Monday’s trip to Watford. Rather than tire however, Napoli seemed to get stronger with the Gunners having a back five at times. Mohammed Elneny came on for Torreira, and when Mkhitaryan cut back to Ramsey, any shot on target would have scored a third, but this time, Ramsey struck high over the bar.

Arsenal held on for a good win and a clean sheet to take over to Napoli next week where more of the same will see them reach the Europa League semi-finals for the second year in succession.