Arsenal V Napoli was almost like standing outside a well known store window with your nose pressed up against the glass, admiring the goods.
For Napoli Koulibaly showed all his quality in defence holding back wave after wave of Arsenal attack. From where I was sitting, I couldn’t see the price tag but on this evidence whatever it is was, it would appear reasonable.
Even an own goal couldn’t depreciate this guy’s value and it’s no wonder so many clubs in Europe are lining up for his signature.
I’m not sure he’ll be at Napoli next season if the right offer comes in it but it’s unlikely to come from the Emirates.
Arsenal brushed aside the disappointment of a lacklustre showing against an average Everton, with a silky masterclass of attacking football but 2-0 is hardly a drubbing and fans will be hoping for a determined display in the second leg, plus an away goal to close the tie.
In all fairness Arsenal should already be in the semi final with double that score but some decent defending and wayward finishing left the game open to a comeback.
3-0 would have surely put the game beyond all doubt but now it will be the gunners away form that remains the big question.
The first half display was campaign and caviar, with sweeping, expressive, classy, attacking football.
The second 45 was more pie and chips with Napoli determined to make a game of it and they had a series of attacks that should have delivered more.
The best chances fell to Lorenzo Insigne and Piotr Zielinski who squandered the opportunity to put Arsenal to the sword with a vital away goal that would have given the gunners a mountain to climb in Italy.
That’s not to say that the home side didn’t deserve this impressive win, they did but it made you think why, with this amount of talent, Arsenal struggle at against the less gifted sides.
Do they just run out of steam after a full on performance ? is it the demands of so many games or just that they don’t like the rotation system ?
The highlight of this game was Ramsey’s goal which was classic Arsenal at their best.
Ozil picked out Alexandre Lacazette, who found Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The youngster then delivered a sublime ball to the advancing Aaron Ramsey to blast into the net.
This wasn’t just a goal that epitomised the old and new Arsenal under Emery but also the style of the rampaging Welshman.
The late sprint in to danger area that catches the opposition flat footed and clueless.
“He wants to do something important for us, He feels a lot for Arsenal.”
One gets the impression that if you could turn back time, Ramsey might have managed to commit his name to paper and Emery would have been pictured grinning over his left shoulder.
His move to Juventus is perfect for him at this stage of his career and although there are many fans lamenting his departure, one can’t deny that he hasn’t always been accommodated in an Arsenal side and that they haven’t always made the most of his talents.
He has drifted in and out of the team and his career has been interrupted by a series of annoying injuries.
Yet, he has had his best season in an Arsenal shirt, not in terms of goals but in terms of his impact and contribution to the team.
I wont lie and say he can’t be replaced because he can but he has shown a level of professionalism that is rare when he could have easily cruised through the season without caring about the club that was content to let him leave.
Anyway, back to the game.
The second goal came from a revived and rested Torreira and showed everything about that had fans salivating about him since his arrival.
Picking up the ball in the middle, driving forward, before twisting past a challenge and seeing his effort ping off Koulibaly’s leg into the net.
It was a stroke of luck but fully deserved because of the endeavour of Lacazette, Aubameyang and the playful, yet productive exploits of Mesut Ozil.
Ozil was in the mood for this one and was able to flip the ball into areas that saw Napoli scramble in an effort to cover.
Yes, he doesn’t always show what he has in his locker but when he does it’s a joy to watch.
Let’s hope he is equally enthusiastic about the trip to Italy and catapults the club into a semi final.