Irreplaceable Aaron Ramsey inspires Arsenal to 2-0 win against Napoli

first_imgAaron Ramsey was Arsenal’s man of the match (Picture: Getty)Napoli better get used to the sight of Aaron Ramsey.The Juventus-bound midfielder will be a rival of the Serie A club next season when he moves to Turin on a free transfer in July.With a mouth-watering move on the horizon, it would have been easy for Ramsey to down tools but it’s a measure of his professionalism and character that he remains such a prominent part of this Arsenal side.There was long-term logic behind Arsenal’s decision to withdraw their contract offer to the Welshman but when did football become a logical sport? The decision was purely financial and barely factored in the asset that the club is losing. With every passing week and every performance the decision looks further and further away from being the right move.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTThe irony is that when the club come to replacing Ramsey this summer, they’ll be searching for a midfielder with exactly his profile. Few midfielders in world football possess his engine, his ability to work box-to box or his knack for finding space in a crowded penalty area. Players of Ramsey’s quality are simply either not available or they come at a premium, something Arsenal cannot afford at this moment in time.It seems counter-productive, even factoring in Ramsey’s hefty wage demands, that the club are willing to offload a £50m+ midfielder for free and hope to replace him with someone for half the price. Comment Can Arsenal attract – or afford – a player of Ramsey’s quality this summer? (Picture: PA)Arsenal can, at least, enjoy Ramsey while he’s here and he continued his long goodbye by putting the Gunners on course of the Europa League semi-finals.Napoli, second in Serie A but 20 points behind leaders Juventus, had won just two of their last six games and their nerves were evident from the first minute against an Arsenal side with the third best home form in the Premier League.Unai Emery made five changes to the side that were beaten 1-0 so comprehensively by Everton on Sunday. In came Ramsey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – who both improved the Gunners at least when they came on at Goodison Park – as well as Laurent Koscielny, Petr Cech and Lucas Torreira.Ramsey was in a midfield two with Torreira and the pair harassed the visitors from the get-go, confining Carlo Ancelotti’s side to their own half.Napoli didn’t sustain an attack until the 12th minute but as soon as they came out, they were countered and to ruthless effect.A beautiful Arsenal goal 😍Aaron Ramsey finishes off a brilliant move to put the Gunners ahead!Awesome football 🙌— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 11, 2019Ramsey started the move by playing a one-two with Ozil and continued his run into the box when it was given out wide to Alexandre Lacazette. The Frenchman played in the overlapping Ainsley Maitland-Niles and his stretching touch played it back to Ramsey, who converted with ease.Napoli were rocking but Arsenal knew they’d need a victory of note to take to Naples given their patchy away form this term that’s seen them win just five times on the road in the Premier League.They didn’t have to wait long to double their lead, though. It came from Ramsey’s partner in crime, Torreira, when he stole possession midway inside Napoli’s half. He still had plenty to do but the Uruguayan sold Fabian Ruiz with a fantastic dummy before seeing his effort from 25 yards deflect in off Kalidou Koulibaly. Torreira’s deflected effort put Arsenal 2-0 up (Picture: AMA)Opportunities were there for Arsenal to apply a third before the break but neither Lacazette nor Aubameyang could supply the finish.AdvertisementAdvertisementNapoli had to wait for their first significant chance and it came on the cusp of half-time when Lorenzo Insigne was left free on the edge of the box but the forward blazed his effort over to ensure Arsenal kept their two-goal advantage.It was perhaps Arsenal’s best 45-minute display of the season, rivalling the second half performance in their 4-2 win against rivals Tottenham in December.Emery’s side were guilty of taking their foot off the gas after the interval. A two-goal advantage in the home leg is surprisingly precarious given its a healthy lead but the Gunners looked undecided whether to push for a third or to stick with what they had. Emery, a three-time winner of the Europa League, was happy with his side’s display (Picture: Getty)Their leaky defence means the Gunners are likely to need a goal in Italy to book their place in the final four but with Ramsey in this form they’ll have confidence they can.AdvertisementTonight was another reminder of Ramsey’s quality. He will be Arsenal’s loss and Juventus’ gain but for now he should just be enjoyed.MORE: Lionel Messi’s nasal scans come back clear after injury vs Manchester United Irreplaceable Aaron Ramsey inspires Arsenal to 2-0 win against Napolicenter_img Ancelotti will be encouraged by Napoli’s second half display (Picture: Getty)There was a golden chance for Ramsey to grab his second of the night but he skied over Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s cutback ten minutes from time. It was a rare mistake in what had been a near faultless performance.Napoli improved and should have grabbed a crucial away goal. Their best opportunity fell to Piotr Zielinski but the Pole smashed over his effort when he was rolled in by Insigne’s pass across the box.The miss summed up the Italians’ night. They bore all the hallmarks of former manager Maurizio Sarri in that they were tidy and precise in possession but they lacked a killer instinct in forward areas.There were opportunities for Arsenal to round off the victory in the dying stages but they’ll take a healthy and deserved two-goal lead to Naples. Sean KearnsThursday 11 Apr 2019 11:13 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link909Shares Advertisement Advertisementlast_img

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