Arsenal scored twice in the opening quarter-hour and coasted to a comfortable 2-0 win over Napoli on Tuesday.
The win sees the Gunners, who began their UEFA Champions League campaign with a 2-1 win away to Marseille, move atop Group F with six points from two matches.
Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey were the attacking stars of this encounter. After eight minutes, the pair had combined to put the hosts in front of their Italian guests.
Ramsey, who had already shown some eagerness in taking on what looked to be a shaky Napoli defense, took the ball down the right and clipped it back into the centre of the 18-yard box, where Ozil was on hand to delicately place the ball inside the near post with the slightest touch of his left foot.
Seven minutes later, Arsenal were two goals ahead. This time, it was Ozil playing provider.
A botched Napoli clearance from a throw-in allowed Arsenal to regain possession deep in the attacking third. Like Ramsey, the Germany international took the ball deep down the right before playing it into the goalmouth for Olivier Giroud, who burst past the central defenders before beating goalkeeper Pepe Reina.
That was the end of the goalscoring on this night, but after the restart, Arsenal changed their approach from a swashbuckling one to something rather more mature.
Although Napoli were winning possession and enjoying more of the ball through Gokhan Inler and Valon Behrami, they created very little of note—their attacking players were suffocated before they even approached the Arsenal box.
In the end, 12 of Napoli’s 13 shots failed to hit the target and on no occasion did they have the look of a side confident about breaking down their opponent.
Key Player Grades
Mesut Ozil: A+
He faded in the second half, but by then he had already done exactly what he was acquired by Arsenal to do: make meaningful plays. With a goal and an assist, he was the most successful attacker from either side on the night and his understanding with Ramsey only seemed to enhance as time wore on.
Aaron Ramsey: A+
Once again, the Wales international was withdrawn to a standing ovation at the Emirates—his energetic performance having been the spark that got Arsenal off to a tremendous start in the first place.
Upon his withdrawal in the 88th minute, he had touched the ball 81 times, completed 85 percent of his passes, won three dribbles and made four successful tackles.
Marek Hamsik: C
Arsenal simply didn’t allow the Napoli maestro a foothold in the match. Not only did the Slovakia international fail to receive service of any kind during the first half, he also struggled to make things happen when he saw a bit more of the ball after the restart.
At the final whistle, he had touched the ball only 45 times and completely faded from the proceedings.
Arsenal, who are atop the Premier League as well as their Champions League group, will visit West Bromwich Albion on Sunday before returning from the international break with a home match against Norwich on October 19. Three days later, they’ll welcome Borussia Dortmund to the Emirates.
Napoli, meanwhile, will look to bounce back from this defeat at home to Livorno on Sunday. Their next Champions League appointment will come October 22 away to Marseille.
All statistics courtesy of Who Scored?