Arsenal 2-0 Napoli: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Aaron Ramsay Inspires Gunners to Victory

Arsenal will head to Napoli next week firmly in the driving seat, having beaten the Partenopei 2-0 at the Emirates on Thursday night.

A curled finish from Aaron Ramsay, and a Kalidou Koulibaly own goal were enough to see off a Napoli side that struggled to get going in this quarter-final first leg match. 

Unai Emery's men looked dangerous throughout, carving their way through the visitors defence, and could have won the game by much more as they created a number of scoring opportunities.


The Spaniard will hope that these missed chances don't come back to haunt his side when they travel to Italy for the second leg next week. This was an uncharacteristic Napoli performance, they only really got going in the second half and they will look to turn the result around on home turf in the next leg.

Here's our breakdown of the game.


Key Talking Point

When Lucas Torreira won the ball off the Napoli midfield and surged towards the backtracking defence, many Arsenal fans would have expected the Uruguayan to lay the ball off to one of his more seasoned attacking teammates.


However, the diminutive midfielder cut back onto his left foot, and drove the ball towards goal. 

His shot seemed as if it wouldn't trouble Alex Meret in the Napoli goal, possibly even going wide. That was until Kalidou Koulibaly, in an attempt to block the shot, deflected the ball past the wrong-footed and despairing Meret, into the Napoli net.

It was a disappointing goal to concede, and affected Napoli's performance for the rest of the half as they looked to go in at half time without conceding any more.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Cech (7); Maitland-Niles (6), Papastathopoulos (6), Koscielny (7), Monreal (7), Kolasinac (6); Ramsay (9)*, Torreira (8), Ozil (7); Aubameyang (6), Lacazette (6)

Substitutions: Iwobi (6), Mkhitaryan (6), Elneny (6)

Star Man

Aaron Ramsey ran the show for Arsenal against Napoli. He opened the scoring with a well taken finish in the 15th minute having troubled the Napoli defence with his penetrating runs from deep and his link up play with his teammates.


The Welshman, destined for Turin in the summer, showed the Arsenal faithful what they will be missing when he departs, and also highlighted what an important player he has been for the Gunners. Ramsay was at the heart of every Arsenal attack, either with the ball at his feet, or dragging Napoli players out of position and creating space for his teammates.

He missed a few good chances in the second half, and if he had scored those he may have killed the tie off.


Key Talking Point

Carlo Ancelotti's decision to play Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne as Napoli's two strikers signalled the intention of the Italian boss to try and stretch the Arsenal defence with the pace of his front men.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles,Sokratis Papastathopoulos,Mario Rui

However, Napoli failed to do this, instead looking to play the ball out wide and cross the ball in. 

Mertens and Insigne are hardly giants, and the Partenopei may have been better served with Polish striker Arkadiusz Milik starting the match with Mertens and Insigne playing off the tall 25-year-old. It may have caused the Arsenal defence more problems and may have resulted in more attacking chances.

When Milik was introduced in the second half, Napoli looked more dangerous and they began to stretch the Arsenal defence. If he had started, the end result may have been different.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Meret (8); Hysaj (6), Maksimovic (6), Koulibaly (6), Rui (5); Callejon (6), Allan (6), Fabian (6), Zielinski (7); Insigne (7), Mertens (5)

Substitutions: Milik (6), Ounas (6), Younes (5)

Star Man

Despite conceding two goals, Alex Meret had a good performance between the sticks for Napoli at the Emirates. The 22-year-old Italian keeper denied Arsenal a number of times, managing to keep the score within reach, making the likelihood of Napoli overturning this result not insurmountable.


He will need to be in similar form in the return fixture as Arsenal will know that an away goal could see them progress to the semi-final stage at the expense of the Partenopei.

Looking Ahead

Arsenal face Watford on Monday in their next game as the hunt for a Champions League spot continues in the Premier League. Unai Emery will have a decision to make in regards to who plays, as his side travel to Napoli three days later for the return match against the Partenopei.

Napoli on the other hand play a day earlier on Sunday as they face Chievo in the Serie A. Carlo Ancelotti will want to put more daylight between his side and Inter in third and will see this as an opportunity for three points. 

Source : 90min