Europa League 2018-19: Arsenal seal crucial first leg win by brushing Napoli aside, but can they go all the way?
It was a stroll in the park for Unai Emery's side as Arsenal's one-sided match against Napoli ended in a 2-0 win for them. The defeat to Everton dented their Champions League hopes but today they definitely showed up against Napoli with visible determination.
Aaron Ramsey, yet again, opened the scoring for Arsenal in the 15th minute after a beautiful link-up play with Lacazette and Maitland-Niles. The Gunners then doubled their lead when a shot from Torreira was deflected off of Koulibaly and went into the back of the net in the 25th minute.
Napoli tried to create chances but, ironically, Arsenal's defense was there to save the day. Carlo Ancelotti's side created their first big chance right at the stroke of half time, when Insigne's shot a few yards away goal was rifled into the crowd.
Arsenal had a slow start to the second half and Napoli created a few more chances, but the main issue for the visitors was the offside trap.They came close numerous times but were denied by the offside flag.
Arsenal created two big chances within a minute when Ramsey's shot was saved by Meret and Monreal's header went just over the bar. A cross then came in for Piotr Zieliński who was one on one with Cech, but he shot the ball over the goal.
Arsenal missed the chance to go 3-0 up after Ramsey had a miss in the 81st minute that was similar to Insigne's from the first half.
In the Premier League, Arsenal need to make sure they do not drop points from their remaining six games. The main threat for them is Wolves, who drew to Arsenal at the Emirates earlier this season. Finishing in the top four is one of the two chances Arsenal have to return to the Champions League.
Considering Arsenal's away form, it is difficult to see them defend their lead. However, the players will know that this is their only chance for silverware this season, and perhaps their best shot at a return to Champions League football next season, so they will give it their all.