thumbnail Hello,

UEFA Champions League

  • October 1, 2013
  • • 19:45
  • • Emirates Stadium, London
  • Referee: M. Mažić
  • • Attendance: 59536

Arsenal 2-0 Napoli: Ozil opens account for comfortable Gunners

Arsenal 2-0 Napoli: Ozil opens account for comfortable Gunners

Getty Images

The German turned in an Aaron Ramsey cross before laying on a goal for Olivier Giroud as an early Gunners surge swept aside their fancied Italian opponents

Mesut Ozil scored his first goal for Arsenal as an early onslaught saw off a surprisingly sloppy Napoli at the Emirates Stadium.

In a pulsating start, he German caressed home an Aaron Ramsey cross on eight minutes, having been found unmarked by the Welshman on the edge of the penalty area.

Ozil then capitalised on some slack Napoli defending from their own throw-in by surging to the byeline and squaring for Olivier Giroud to double the Gunners' lead, and the advantage proved decisive.

By Greg Stobart

It was an almost perfect performance from Arsenal as they blitzed Napoli in 15 scintillating first-half minutes before cruising home without a single scare at the back.

A few eyebrows were raised when Arsenal were drawn in this group but they have maximum points from their opening two fixtures and made light work of Serie A’s second-placed side here.

Mesut Ozil opened his Arsenal account with a stunning goal in the eighth minute, almost carving the ball into the corner from 18 yards, before the German set up Olivier Giroud for a close range finish with just 15 minutes on the clock.

Napoli could not handle the tempo, movement and technical ability of the Arsenal midfield, while Mathieu Flamini snapped into challenges and denied the Italian side any way back into the game.

In the second half, the Gunners took their foot off the pedal and conserved their energy, while Napoli could not get near the opposition goal. Rafa Benitez will rue unforgivable defensive errors from his team in the first-half.
Arsene Wenger – celebrating 17 years in charge of Arsenal - welcomed back Rosicky from a thigh injury to replace Serge Gnabry, while Mikel Arteta came in as Jack Wilshere was rested.

Gonzalo Higuain - who was a transfer-window target for Wenger's side - was unable to shake off a calf injury in time to feature for Napoli.

Arsenal were at their free-flowing best right from the off and were soon two goals ahead.

The first came in just the eighth minute when Ramsey stormed down the right-hand side and cut back for Ozil on the edge of the box and the German hit a sublime first-time shot that nestled in the corner.

And the home fans celebrated a second after quarter of an hour. Giroud flicked to Ozil in the box and he stormed to the byline before laying back for the Frenchman to tap home from close range.

Napoli almost responded when Miguel Britos made a late run into the box from a Lorenzo Insigne corner and headed wide when unmarked.

Arsenal continued to dominate with Ozil and Ramsey producing a midfield masterclass. The latter twice saw shots blocked in the area by Raul Albiol.

The home side's lead was almost extended immediately after the restart when Giroud raced clear on the right and fed into the path of Rosicky six yards from goal, but he failed to make good contact when under pressure from Britos.

Napoli tried to come back into the contest and Insigne twice saw efforts go just wide, while Gokhan Inler blazed harmlessly over with 20 minutes remaining.

Laurent Koscielny then had a wonderful opportunity to add a third when he met Arteta's flick but from point-blank range he fired straight at Pepe Reina.

But Koscielny's miss made no difference to the final score as Arsenal moved to the top of the group. Their next Champions League fixture is at home to Borussia Dortmund on October 22.