ARSENAL 2-0 NAPOLI- WHAT WE LEARNT. Written by @AFCREPORTER (Instagram and Twitter).
We’ve won at the Emirates yet again, in much more easy than was first anticipated. Both teams fielded strong sides and the match was hyped up to be a gruelling battle. However, early on the tone was set with Arsenal dominating the ball and creating several chances early on. The deadlock was broken by Turin-bound Aaron Ramsey after a sweeping counter attack from the Gunners was finished cleverly by the midfielder. Shortly after, Lucas Torreira made a perfect tackle in the opponent’s half and drove forward. A lovely bit of trickery allowed Lucas time to shoot and the attempt took a huge deflection of Koulibaly before going into the net.
From a tactical perspective, Unai Emery played his cards very well. The high pressure, led by Lacazette and Aubameyang and applied all throughout the field left the Italian side making lots of errors and not being able to sustain possession for the first 40 minutes of the match. Another key tactic employed by the boss was extensive and effective use of the offside trap. Heaps of times Insigne and co were caught beyond the last defender due to some very clever positioning by the back 3. Whenever Napoli looked likely to play a long ball over the defence, the triplet all stepped up, rendering the Napoli forwards useless. This technique worked throughout the game, even when Milik came on.
Once again we have maintained our impressive home record this season and have lost just three times at the Emirates in this campaign, with all three losses against ‘Top 6’ sides. We have set a solid foundation for the second leg and yet part of my believes the tie should be already over. We had several chances to score more goals, including a Ramsey sitter from inside the box. I fear that missing such chances could come back to haunt us. We know the home Napoli side will be a well-oiled machine and they will almost certainly generate chances to score.
Another great positive to take from the game is our clean sheet. Now, if we score an away goal, Napoli will have to score 4 goals to avoid elimination. This round is not over. We still have to travel to Italy and come away with a result there. It will not be easy but we can definitely do it.