Arsenal took a significant step towards the Europa League semifinals as Aaron Ramsey inspired a 2-0 win over Napoli in the quarterfinal first leg on Thursday.
Unai Emery‘s side seized control of the tie with a dominant first-half performance at the Emirates Stadium.
Ramsey opened the scoring with a cool finish to cap a flowing move and the Gunners were further ahead before halftime when Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly deflected Lucas Torreira‘s shot into his own net.
Arsenal couldn’t add to the lead after the break, but they had done enough to put themselves in pole position ahead of the second leg in Naples on April 18
Having won the Europa League three times during his tenure as Sevilla boss, Emery knows the value of a first leg lead and he sent out an attacking line-up featuring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil.
“The first leg was very important to take a good result,” said Emery. “We deserved to win, but we know it is going to be very difficult there.
“Their performances at home are usually very strong. We will plan to win the match, but we need to have a lot of respect for them. It is still 50-50. Our challenge is to be competitive away. Sometimes away we lose the spirit we have at home.”