Arsenal v Napoli reflections and second leg predictions

It was a spectacular night at the Emirates yesterday evening as Arsenal beat Napoli 2 goals to nil. Our pressing last night was immense, but we still caught ourselves conceding chances in which Napoli fortunately failed to convert. My man of the match was Lucas Torreira, who played his first game since our round of 16 tie against Rennes.

Arsenal will surely be celebrating what was an excellent win. For the first 30 minutes of the game, the game was completely one sided for us. Aaron Ramsey opened the scoring after some wonderful link up play. Lucas Torreira later scored our second, where he stole the ball and dribbled a couple yards before shooting a ball that was deflected off Koulibaly. The goal was counted as an own goal but I really can’t see how it is because the ball wasn’t re directed.

It would’ve been better if we scored more than 2 goals, but we just couldn’t seem to put the ball past Meret who had an excellent second half and making some saves that could’ve saved Napoli the tie. We all can agree that it was a great performance by the team yesterday, but there is still a huge away leg to play. Going into this second leg, I am confident but also nervous. Our away form in the Europa League or just this season in general is poor, and I don’t need to keep reminding you.

In the second half, we were getting caught on Napoli’s long balls. Most were offside, but the one that really startled me was when Insigne put a ball over the top for Mertens, who just nearly missed a heading opportunity. The high pressing worked very well at the Emirates, but I don’t think it’ll work over in Italy. I am by no means saying we should park the bus, but I think we should push our midfield and defensive line back a nudge, just so Napoli can’t but those balls in over the top.

There wasn’t really any player that stood out as poor last night, but it’s really important we ride this form into Italy. We have a game 3 days before against Watford, so I don’t see us starting a ton of first team players and risking injuries. After this win and seeing that it’s extremely possible to win this tournament, I won’t really have a problem if we don’t start a lot of first team players next Monday.

It’s another huge game next Thursday, and we have to be a cohesive unit all around. I think we’ll go through to the semi finals, but sadly I don’t see us winning this game. I’m going for a 1-0 loss. Its not that I’m negative, it’s just that I’m not sold on the fact that we can turn around our away form for just one game.

Nick Carson


  1. Torreira and Ramsey were excellent. They were almost everywhere, intercepting, robbing and linking with the others

    But if I were Emery, I would use fresh midfielders to face the cojones team:

    …………………………. Leno
    ………….. Sokratis . Koscielny . Monreal
    Maitland-Niles . Torreira . Xhaka . Kolasinac
    …………………………. Suarez
    …..Aubameyang ………………… Lacazette

  2. I correctly predicted the score 2-0! I wish I put money on it! My prediction for away leg will be 0-1 or 1-2 losses. On the game I thought Lacazette and Aubameyang were below par. Wasted so many chances. Napoli as well wasted at least 3 clear cut chances I remember. The quality of football in Europa league is really bad I must say.

    Anyway, am glad we won and am positive we will go through. Koulibaly was exceptionally bad and I can’t believe he is rated at £90M.

        1. ? He is definitely overrated! If VVD went for £75M Koulibaly should be nowhere near £90M. Yes, they had a lot of offsides, We played the high line well. Going to Italy though with our away curse am afraid I don’t see us winning.

            1. The offside trap was very well organized and disciplined by Koscielny and Socrates; obviously there has been some “hard yards” put in on the training paddock at last.

  3. I wish I had the ability to write like some people do, but I sure do love to read. Apart from Admin who has to write on transfers, games,and basically everything that happens around the club I find that the people who write in these later days don’t bother to do research. You know gone are the days when you would read an article after a game and the writer would “wow” you with some of the unseen or unspoken in the game or maybe even some stats showing what our players are doing and what really needs improvement. Not bashing this article per say but writers could bring a little more information to the table seen that they are the gifted ones.

    1. Sorry, I’m a rather new writer at 16 years of age, so I’m always looking at new ways I can improve my writing. This was the first time I have really ever done a match reflection, because my articles were mainly based around player performances, Unai Emery, etc. I was just trying something new with my writing, so I’m sorry if it wasn’t the best read. Have a good day!

      1. Good headline mate and I can see exactly where you’re going but be bold and wow us with your talent as am sure you can do good luck and please keep writing as this is the only way to get even better.

  4. I hope the glaring chances we missed don’t come back to haunt us. We still lack that killer instinct.

  5. slightly off topic massive fail on the clubs decision towards Ramsey, whether you like him or not, he is performing and to replace him will cost at least 40m

    to continue to work hard in the manner he has allows me to respect him even more, how many others would do that

    1. It can be argued that Ramsey owed the Club for supporting him during his frequent injury affected seasons. However he should be complimented on his efforts post his successful transfer negotiations with Juventus.

  6. I told you guys to mark my predictions back then regarding the napoli games…

    Arsenal 2-0 Napoli
    Napoli 1-2 Arsenal
    Arsenal has achieved the first prediction and it remains the second one
    Arsenal and Napoli are no mates..we are better than them….. We are beating napoli home and away…. Remember this!

  7. Please where is Xhaka? He’s needed on Monday. I don’t want tired legs on Thursday. PL is not doing well for it’s teams in Europe.

  8. I think we will score in Italy but it’s how many will they score? I would start the same team and go for the jugular. Iwobi and Elneny didn’t offer anything at all, neither offensive or defensive, leave thematic home.

  9. I think Napoli will win but we will go through
    Something like 1-0, 2-1, 3-1 or maybe penalties (you never know)

    I’m happy we won by two goals and stopped Napoli from getting an away goal but we are NOT safe. We need to play our best team and not take them or our lead for granted

  10. I still believe that our best bet to reach Champions League next season is through Top 4 finish in the League for the following reasons:
    1) In the League, there are 2 possible slots to choose one from i:e 3rd and 4th. Europa has just one
    2) As things stand in the EPL log table, we can still afford to lose a game or two but still end up in Champions League spot because of direct log-head fixture that involves our top 4 rivals.
    3) In EPL, though we are working hard for ourselves, the victories, draws or loss of another team, mathematically, can still work for us too. In Europa, when you fail to save yourself, you are gone.
    4) In EPL, if we win the next consecutive 3 games, we are likely to be home and dry to Champions league ticket because of the strong fixtures of our rivals. Next 3 games victory in Europa is still just Europa final slot; not UCL yet.

  11. I wonder why some people don’t believe that we can beat Napoli at their home? We already have a psychological advantage over them by virtue of our win. Thus they will come with all the vigour to hurt us which could backfire. Secondly, we now know how to handle them which will calm our nerves. In addition, we shall have the determination to protect what we already have. In their desire to put us under intense pressure they are are bound to make mistakes which we could exploit. They could become adventurous leaving their hack line exposed or they might create gaps which we could exploit. I am further surprised that few people on here have talked of a draw which is a great possibility. Why has no one mentioned frustration on the part of Napoli if they fail to score in the first ten minutes? All these are likely scenarios. Besides nobody should imagine that Napoli did us a favour and are therefore waiting for revenge when we go to their home. The truth is that we outplayed them in the first half and contained them in the second half. Who knows what tactic we shall employ at their home? We might as well employ similar tactics and put them off balance from the outset. Perhaps the one mistake we should avoid is to invite pressure onto ourselves by attempting to be defensive from the beginning. Let us use caution but avoid being over cautious.

  12. Our tactic worked well in first half. They wanted to play through the middle but could not work. Using the flanks gave them more attacking opportunities in the second half. We have to be wary of that since it worked for them. Every sticks to what works.

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