Behind some exceptional passing and suspect defending by their opponents, Arsenal have jumped out to a 2-0 lead over Napoli in the first half of Champions League Group F play on Tuesday.
Arsene Wenger’s side got on the board in the eighth minute when a wide open Mesut Ozil drilled home a left-foot strike off a superb assist from Aaron Ramsey. It was Ozil’s first goal for the Gunners since his arrival on transfer deadline-day, while Ramsey continues to display the best form of his career.
Seven minutes later, Ozil was instrumental in the second goal. After same shambolic defending from the visitors, the German playmaker accepted a pass from Olivier Giroud, and returned the favor by finding the streaking striker, who tapped in a routine shot past a beleaguered Pepe Reina. Giroud has two goals in the Champions League this season, to go along with his four in the Premier League.
Napoli have had few chances to cut into the home side’s lead. In the 27th minute, former Real Madrid forward José Callejón attempted a right-footed free kick from outside the box but missed the top right corner. The Serie A club took five shots but with none on goal, compared to Arsenal's seven shots with three on goal.
The Gunners did a masterful job of maintaining ball possession for long stretches of the first 45 minutes, enjoying two-thirds of possession. It was dominant effort for Arsenal, who continue to impress in all competitions this season.
The match began with some rather surprising team news. Midfielder Jack Wilshere was left out of the starting 11 in favor of the returning Tomas Rosicky, while Gonzalo Higuain, who was linked to Arsenal this summer, suffered an injury on Monday and has been left off the Napoli squad.
An IB Times Staff Reporter contributed to this report.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.