Arsenal overcame Napoli 1-0 in the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final to reach the semis with an impressive 3-0 aggregate victory.
The Gunners went to Italy only needing to avoid a two-goal defeat, or a three-goal defeat if they managed to get on the scoresheet. However, the team took their destiny into their own hands by taking the lead through an Alexandre Lacazette free-kick in the first half.
With Napoli needing four, their confidence certainly appeared to take a knock. Though the hosts continued pushing for the opening goal to spark a comeback, Arsenal never really looked worried about that actually happening.
In the end, Unai Emery’s side kept their sixth clean sheet in seven games and set up a trip to Valencia in the semis. Let’s have a look at our player ratings for the clash.
Goalkeeper and Centre-Backs
Petr Cech 7.5
Despite Napoli having 20 shots throughout the 90 minutes, only two were on target, which made Cech’s job a bit easier. In fact, the best save he made was from Nacho Monreal, as the Spaniard almost fired the ball into his own net. Other than one long pass straight to a Napoli player who had a very hopeful shot at goal, Cech had a solid game.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos 8
Sokratis played well again, and so far his Premier League suspension actually seems to be benefitting Arsenal. The Gunners won without him against Watford and he was allowed to rest up and come into this tie fresh. Hopefully, it’ll be the same story with the next two fixtures against Crystal Palace and Wolves.
Laurent Koscielny 8.5
Koscielny was the star of the Arsenal backline, and his importance to the defence can’t be understated at the moment. He made eight clearances, one interception, two tackles, made one block and won the only aerial duel he contested, hardly putting a foot wrong defensively throughout the performance.
Nacho Monreal 6
Monreal wasn’t involved in as many defensive actions as Koscielny and Sokratis, but he was better on the ball. His 77% pass accuracy doesn’t seem particularly impressive until compared to the 54% and 67% of his centre-back partners. It was just that kind of game, where Arsenal were happy to risk conceding possession to attempt counters.
Nonetheless, he was a little shaky when compared to the other two centre-backs, who were both excellent.