Arsenal star nets first goal in Champions League win over Napoli
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Champions League Group F: Arsenal 2 Napoli 0
Mesut Ozil scored his first Arsenal goal as the Gunners made short work of Napoli to move clear at the head of their Champions League group.
Ozil, who joined the club in a record £43m transfer from Real Madrid last month, opened the scoring before setting up Olivier Giroud to make it 2-0 inside 15 minutes.
The Gunners’ victory was more comfortable than the scoreline suggested and left them three points clear of both Napoli and their next Group F opponents, Borussia Dortmund.
Emirates Stadium erupted in the eighth minute after neat work by Giroud released Aaron Ramsey, who careered down the right flank and cut the ball back for Ozil to drill home a left-foot finish.
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The Gunners swarmed forward continually and Napoli goalkeeper Pepe Reina dived to save Mathieu Flamini’s effort, but he could do nothing to prevent the second goal on 15 minutes.
The visitors gave the ball away on their left-hand side and Ozil gratefully guided it to the line before flicking a pass with the outside of his boot for Giroud to finish from close range.
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With Ozil and Ramsey confidently pulling the strings in midfield, further goals seemed inevitable – yet somehow the half-time scoreline remained at 2-0 as Ramsey, Mikel Arteta and Flamini all had shots blocked.
Napoli only threatened once, when Miguel Britos made a late run to meet a corner and got between Laurent Koscielny and Bacary Sagna, only to steer his header just wide of the far post.
The Italians improved at the start of the second half as Jose Callejon sent a volley whistling over the bar and Lorenzo Insigne was also off target after skipping away from Sagna.
With Tomas Rosicky only just back from injury, Arsenal brought on Jack Wilshere in his place but, despite the surfeit of creative options, it took them until the last 15 minutes to carve out further opportunities.
Arteta headed on an Ozil corner for Koscielny to volley, and it needed a reaction stop from Reina to deny the French defender his first goal of the season.
And, despite the lack of further goals, there were few complaints from the home crowd, who even broke into the occasional chant of ‘there’s only one Arsene Wenger’ – words that were certainly not in their repertoire a few weeks ago.
Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Flamini, Arteta; Rosicky (Wilshere 63), Ozil, Ramsey (Monreal 88); Giroud.