Thanks to a goal and an assist from Mesut Özil, Arsenal coasted to a 2-0 victory over Napoli on Tuesday night in London. Özil scored the opener early and assisted on a second goal from Olivier Giroud as the Gunners took firm control of Group F.
Things got off to a big of a careful start at the Emirates with both sides showing the desire to attack but not really finding a way through the respective defenses early. At least until the 8th minute when Aaron Ramsey got loose on the right side and Napoli's defense over-shifted left leaving a massive pocket of space in the 18-yard box. Mesut Özil was more than happy to fill that space and skillfully side-footed Ramsey's cross up and past Pepe Reina. Lorenzo Insigne was extremely lack tracking back on the play, allowing the German to be completely unmarked.
The goal only further inspired Arsenal and they began to press in on Napoli who unraveled and looked more and more disorganized.
In the 15th minute Özil ended up on the right wing and was allowed to walk into the area again with far too much space to work with. Özil dribbled towards the end line at an angle before pulling the ball back in front of the goal where two Napoli defenders watched the ball, completely unaware that Olivier Giroud was making a late run, like a hungry shark sneaking up on a particularly tasty looking seal.The French striker split right between the defenders and hammed the ball past a Reina to give the Gunners a 2-0 lead.
Napoli did recover a bit after the second goal and had a couple good chances at the half trudged forward. In the 22nd minute, Miguel Britos got free on a corner sent in by Insigne but his header missed over the bar. Three minutes later Napoli earned a dangerous free kick 25-yards out but José Callejón's attempt didn't curve back enough and sailed wide to the right.
If Arsenal were a Japanese giant hornet in the first half, they were more of a dazed honey bee in the second half, taking their foot off the gas considerably. Napoli failed to really take advantage though, or really do anything particularly dangerous, so there really wasn't a need for Arsenal to be anything more than just solid.
Laurent Koscielny was denied thanks to an excellent save by Reina in the 76th minute. Mikel Arteta headed the ball down in the area towards the near post but Koscielny was a bit behind the ball and despite getting his leg back to get a shot on frame, it went right at Reina.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Flamini, Arteta, Ramsey (Monreal 88'), Rosicky (Wilshere 63'), Özil, Giroud
Goals: Özil (8'), Giroud (15')
Napoli: Reina, Mesto, Albiol (Fernandez 83'), Britos, Zuniga, Inler, Behrami, Callejón (Zapata 77'), Hamsik, Insigne, Pandev (Mertens 61')