Napoli 0 Arsenal 1 – Player Ratings

The team selection looked ideal for an away game, compact in midfield and some heavy duty firepower up front to hopefully snatch that crucial away goal.

First Half

Napoli had a few half chances but many of their attacks were halted by the lino’s flag.

Rambo pinged a hammy and was replaced by Micki in preference to Mesut, presumably in the running about a lot stakes. Almost immediately Laca was fouled, a distance out from the Napoli goal. He stepped up, fooled the goalkeeper which side he was going and popped it over the wall into an empty net. 1-0 away from home and just what the doctor ordered.

Action Images via reuters

Napoli decided their best hope of getting back into the game was to blame the ref for their predicament in the hope of intimidating him into favouring them. During that first half he stood up superbly against their efforts.

Second Half

A couple of minutes after the restart Auba had the simplest of chances to make it 2-0 and take us completely out of sight. His 98% strike rate of early season has truly gone.

Napoli’s crossing, shooting and passing in the final third were so woeful during that second half that their best chance came when Nacho inadvertently diverted the ball towards his own net but Cech was right on the spot.

Highlight of the half was Big Sok telling Koulibaly that he was a cheating sod in Greek while making it look like he was counselling him on what a harsh world it is. Priceless.

Papa counsels Koulibaly


Excellent from The Arsenal.

Napoli’s first defeat at home to an English side and yet again we confounded expectations with a measured and controlled performance. Napoli were awful but let that not detract from a great team performance.

An away goal and a shut out – not many predicted that!

Valencia await in the semis.

Mertens thinks we weren’t very good. Ahem, we beat you both home and away without breaking sweat or conceding. I reckon you need to take a long hard look at yourself, pal.

Hopefully Rambo’s hammy doesn’t mean his Arsenal career is now over.

AFP- Getty Images


Cech – great to see him kicking the ball rather than putting pressure on the defenders with that passing out from the back garbage – fine save from Monreal … 7

Maitland-Niles – a sound performance, covered well, attacked well, he continued his resurgent form since his ‘mare at Goodison … 8

Sokratis – a personal favourite – solid as a block of marble and with as much facial expression, though his counselling of Koulibaly was a joy to watch … 8

Koscielny – captain, my captain – class throughout … 8

Monreal – Nacho’s bandy legs covered a lot of turf and he played dependably … 8

Kolasinac – combative and useful in possession … 7

Torreira – terrier-like from first to last – was happy that there was a smaller player on the pitch … 8

Xhaka – did what was required before being subbed and his groin rested … 7

Ramsey – strived to create the goal which ironically came straight after he left the pitch … 7

Lacazette – looked fed up to go off – neither he nor Auba had held the ball up that well but it’s not their strength – ran his heart out … 7

Aubameyang – got better as the game went on – shame he missed the sitter … 7


Mkhitaryan – played reasonably well and nearly created that second goal with a timely challenge and then intuitive pass – so much better than Monday night (not that that was too difficult) … 6

Elneny – brought on to give Xhaka a rest – did what he’s good at … 6

Iwobi – presumably his ball retention skills were the reason for his appearance but couldn’t really hang on to it for long … 6



Emery – superb – great team selection – outfoxed his opposing manager … 9

Wagnerotti – no answer to Arsenal’s superiority – bringing on a series of players whose final ball was just as poor as their predecessors was never going to work … 2

Ref – Pretty good game – not wanting to grab the limelight – Mike Dean take note, it’s not about you … 8



43 Responses to Napoli 0 Arsenal 1 – Player Ratings

  1. LBG says:

    Job done…..and all because we didn’t wear that shitty green kit! (Please note re the last away games, AFC)
    Thanks Chas.
    And now for our even more important task- coming third in the Premier League. Crystal Palace on Sunday requires the same commitment and Mesut Ozil!

  2. LBG says:

    Ramsey out for some time. More concerned that Terrier may have redamaged his groin again. Solidity in midfield the key to the rest of the season.

  3. Sue says:

    Laca deserved an 8, for scoring that beauty!
    Other than that, spot on chas….
    Sokratis is hilarious, I don’t think he means to be.. I just couldn’t help laughing last night – with his peace making, the way he points his finger, puts both arms in the air, he shoved some guy off the pitch then pats him on the shoulder, the way he pushed Koscielny away.. worth watching just for Sokratis!!
    Torreira is taller than Insigne (albeit not by much!) I think the kids who walked out with the players were taller 😄
    Kos had a great game, he’s getting better & better…
    Was amazed at Cech being booked though!!
    Just one thing I wonder every week – is how many calories Unai burns on the touchline..I bet he’s exhausted by the end of the night 😂
    Great result. Job done. Well done AFC 👍

  4. LB says:

    Great read Chas, thanks and definitely Mesut time on Sunday.

  5. LB says:

    Unai’s calorie count, hmmm, hadn’t thought of that sound like something for a headline post.

  6. Sue says:

    North London Derby super cup?! 😫😂

  7. chas says:

  8. fred1266 says:

    Unai Emery is unsure over whether Aaron Ramsey has played his last game for Arsenal after the Juventus-bound midfielder suffered an apparent hamstring injury during Thursday’s 1-0 Europa League win over Napoli.

    Alexandre Lacazette’s superb free-kick in the 36th minute crowned a 3-0 aggregate triumph for the Gunners but came shortly after a punishing setback for Ramsey.

    The 28-year-old Wales international will end an 11-year association with Arsenal at the end of this season and Emery confirmed he had sustained a muscular injury.

    “Normally it is going to be some weeks out of the team,” he told BT Sport.

    “He was in a very good moment. We have other players who have an opportunity also. We need all the players.

    “This is something that means we need to use rotation and find the performances.”

    Asked whether Ramsey had played his last game for the club, Emery replied: “I don’t know.”

    There were few, if any, other blemishes on an accomplished performance that sets up a semi-final for three-time Europa League winner Emery against his former club Valencia.

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    “I grew up a lot in this competition and I think the Europa League gives us a big opportunity, when we cannot play in the Champions League, to do something important,” he told his post-match news conference.

    “It’s one title but it gives us the opportunity to play in the Champions League next year, when our domestic league has a lot of teams also trying to take this ticket.

    “The Europa League is for us now, with the Premier League, an important competition.

    “I think Napoli, with their supporters, showed us they wanted to do something important here. We won because we worked really well and made a big performance.

    “We showed good personality to play with our idea. We wanted to keep more of the ball but we didn’t do all I wanted.

    “In the positional play we were very good and doing good pressing against them because they want to build up possession with combinations.

    “We did big pressure against them and were in their box a lot of moments with the possibility to score.”

    Carlo Ancelotti rued a tale of missed chances for his Napoli side, with Arkadiusz Milik and Jose Callejon the main culprits as the tie slipped away.

    “We are not happy, of course, but in the two games where we didn’t do too well was the first 20 minutes in the first game,” he told BT Sport.

    “We tried today and had the opportunities two times. When Arsenal scored it was almost impossible.

    “Of course, then we needed to score four goals and we lost a little bit of confidence. It was important for this game to score quickly. We were unlucky and when they scored the game was finished.”

    Ancelotti added: “We missed opportunities. We could score there, we could score here but Arsenal are a fantastic team. We have to look forward.”

  9. fred1266 says:

    When bellerin back next season what you think AMN position should be

  10. chas says:

    Write a post, Fred!

  11. chas says:

    Because of the Valencia home leg, Leicester away will now be on Sunday lunchtime instead of Monday night.

  12. RA says:

    Sue @ 7:17

    Very insightful, and amusing. 😋

    The highlight of these personal foibles is the all action swaying, bending, exhorting, rhumba swivelling of Unai.

    I heard that there is a judging position coming available on Strictly Come Dancing — and I think he should get it. 🤪

  13. RA says:

    Morning Fred,

    Your comment @8:11 is very good and the English is perfect.

    Where did you nick it from? 😀 👍

  14. RA says:

    I am having a bit of a Doh! moment about Auba.

    He scores goals – that’s a given – but he misses just as many easier opportunities – often in the same game.

    Cheer when he scores — ‘Doh!’ when he blows a chance to win the game or make it safe.

    Maybe it’s just me.

  15. allezkev says:

    Good post, 6 clean sheets from our last 7 games…

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Chas. 🙂

    Fantastic to win with a 1-0 to The Arsenal in Naples and Emery deserves credit indeed for the team formation and quality subs during the game. I am not sure whether our opponents were really fighting will all they got over the two games. Could it be that their main goal for the season, reaching the CL round of next year, was deemed to be achieved much easier by winning their game at the weekend?

    It remains weird to play football on Spursday evening. It’s when people do their weekly shopping etc. I reckon the competition would be much more enjoyable if the games were played on Tuesday or Wednesday. Alas, nothing should get in the way of the CL these days, so that will not happen any time soon.

    Really happy for Laca to score such an important beauty.

  17. LBG says:

    The Brighton game also likely to be moved as well, Chas.

  18. LBG says:

    Happy Birthday, Perry.

  19. fatgingergooner says:

    So that’s 6 clean sheets in our last 7 games. I think Emery has finally found the balance between attack and defence. I just hope that the old fragility doesn’t creep back in with us playing a lot of games and having to rotate. I’d expect a few changes for the Palace game:

    Mustafi Mavro Monreal
    AMN Elneny Xhaka Kola
    Özil Lacazette Iwobi

    I would expect something like this with Kos, Torreira and Auba getting a rest and Ramsey out injured.

    Speaking of Ramsey, if his career with Arsenal is now over, how will he be remembered? Personally, I think we got glimpses of his peak power but it was disrupted too frequently with injuries. Out of the English core that Wenger pinned his hopes on he was by far the most successful for us, but at the same time I always felt he could’ve been more consistent for longer periods. I have to give him huge credit for the way he came back from that horrific leg break and I also think it’s fair to say that he won round the fans who were questioning his inclusion in the team at one point or another. Having said that, I only remember 2 really good seasons from him and that’s not enough for a player of his considerable talent. It will be a shame for Arsenal if he goes and tears it up in Italy and Juventus get his best years, but I don’t think a single Arsenal fan will be hoping for him to fail. A likeable guy with an incredible engine that probably is his undoing on the injury front. Had he stayed and took us into the Emery era then I think he would’ve been club captain and possibly left a legend, but instead he probably leaves us not quite having reached that status but still a fantastic player who’s Wembley goals will never be forgotten.

    I hope we see him again in the EL final or at least a farewell in the last PL game.

  20. LBG says:

    The BBC have produced some unbelievable series over the last ten years, but, if you didn’t manage to catch it this week “Earth from Space” has got to be one of the most amazing. Highly recommended.

  21. Sue says:

    Haha RA Strictly come dancing 😂 he’d get it for sure! Although I think there’d have to be a translator handy… as even I still can’t understand what he says… with his h’s 😂 Plus I agree about Auba, quite frustrating… he’ll miss an absolute sitter, then go & score an absolute gem (like his 2nd V the spuds in Dec)

    TA – I agree about playing football on a Thursday… Thursdays are for premier league darts! Gerwyn Price 👊 although I don’t mind missing it, for AFC

    Plus chas… if you want to put up a picture of Kolasinac (to keep your contributors happy!) It’d be very welcome 😉😄

  22. fred1266 says:

    Ramsey should be remembered only in one way he brought us 2 FA cup titles

  23. Sue says:

    Wow 😍 (very happy indeed, chas!) Made my weekend! Thank you

  24. GunnerN5 says:

    Morning all,

    Chas, I would have given Lacazette a 10 as it was his goal that turned the game on it’s head. The crowd were stunned and went silent – it invigorated Arsenal and completely deflated Napoli – it was an extraordinarily powerful shot from a 2 yard run up and it bamboozled their keeper. The rest of the game became very easy to watch – at least for Arsenal supporters.

    Chas – you are the master of posts – thank you for all of your efforts throughout this season, you make it an enjoyable experience.

  25. GunnerN5 says:

    Wow – we could have an all English CL final and Europa League final.

  26. fred1266 says:

    Yea the worse thing playing on Thursday is there no body in the lower tier making t place so bloody cold

  27. fred1266 says:

    And they say the English league is inferior those twats

  28. fred1266 says:

    Arsenal are growing stronger thanks to the unflinching belief Unai Emery has in his players, Ainsley Maitland-Niles has said.

    The Gunners reached the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday after a 1-0 win over Napoli in Italy secured a 3-0 aggregate victory in the last eight.

    With a top-four finish in the Premier League still in their own hands, a positive end to Emery’s first season in charge is looking likely.

    Maitland-Niles, who has impressed as a right wing-back in recent weeks, says confidence in the squad is growing by the week thanks to the head coach’s positive approach.

    “He’s given us a lot of confidence,” the 21-year-old said at the San Paolo. “He’s backing us. He’s telling us how he believes in us so much and we’re believing in each other, even more and more every day.

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    “We’re growing as a team. The team spirit’s very high, we all look to each other for inspiration.

    “That’s what you need from a manager, to pat you back on the back when you don’t do well, and when you do do well, pat you on the back even harder and say, ‘Look, this is fantastic’, and he’s just done that throughout the season for me.”

    Arsenal withstood some heavy Napoli pressure to ease into the last four as they claimed a sixth win and clean sheet in all competitions out of their last seven matches.

    Maitland-Niles thinks they are learning to how best to approach two-legged ties to ensure positive results, having lost away matches to BATE and Rennes in the previous rounds.

    “You can score as many goals as you want, but if you don’t defend properly then that game could go either way, as we saw in the Champions League,” he said.

    “I think sometimes we need to be like the foreign teams and stick with it for 90 minutes and just grind out results. I think it’s going well at the moment.”

    Next up for the Gunners is Sunday’s visit of Crystal Palace.

  29. fatgingergooner says:

    Finishing third could become vital given the current CL and EL situations. There is a big risk that 4th becomes a EL spot with the way the semis have lined up.

  30. Aaron says:

    Chas another read to keep us entertained. Thank you!

    GN5-let’s hope not.
    FGG- Not going to happen, see above.

    Tough game this weekend.
    Spirits should be lifted.

  31. fatgingergooner says:


    What am I supposed to be looking at?

  32. fred1266 says:

    What u mean FG can England only have 4 representatives in CL

    I think they that change whe pool won but didn’t qualified I know that the CL but I assume the same would happen in EL

  33. fred1266 says:

    Probably G5 statement but I not sure how it related to your question

  34. fred1266 says:

    Unai Emery says Aaron Ramsey could be back in action for Arsenal in the next two to three weeks.

    Ramsey had to be substituted during the first half as Arsenal knocked Napoli out of the Europa League, booking a semi-final spot, on Thursday.

    With the midfielder set to join Juventus when his contract runs out at the end of the season, there were fears Ramsey had played his last game for the club.

    But as Arsenal continue to fight for a place in the Premier League’s top four, Emery said Ramsey’s hamstring injury is not as serious as initially anticipated.

    “His progress this season is amazing,” Emery told Sky Sports of the Wales international, who joined Arsenal in 2008.

    “At the beginning [of the season], he was a little confused maybe, because he is in the last year of his contract.

    “For us, and for me, he is a very important player but his confusion maybe did not help us at some moments in the season – not like his performances now.

    “In his last few performances he has been helping us a lot – and in some of the key moments of this season.

    “His injury is bad news and I don’t know how long he will be out of the team, maybe two or three weeks.”

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    Ramsey will miss Sunday’s home game against Crystal Palace, though, with centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos absent through suspension.

    Granit Xhaka and Denis Suarez are battling hip and groin injuries to be passed fit in time to face the Eagles.

    Arsenal are set to face Valencia for a place in the Europa League final, the Gunners at home in the first leg on May 2 before heading to Spain a week later.

    The final could be an all-Premier League affair as the other last-four Europa League clash sees Arsenal’s London rivals Chelsea take on Eintracht Frankfurt.

  35. fatgingergooner says:


    They could have 5 but not 6 and the winners of CL and EL trumps 4th place if those winners finish outside the top 4.

    So in theory you could have a table that reads something like:


    CL Winners: Spurs
    EL Winners: Chelsea

    If that happened then we’d end up in the EL as the top 3 plus Spurs and Chelsea would get in CL.

    Only really an issue i think if Spurs win CL so fingers crossed that doesn’t materialise.

  36. fred1266 says:

    Yea it better don’t

  37. Sue says:

    I just read that Jon ‘I love to send Granit Xhaka off’ Moss is the ref on Sunday 😫

  38. allezkev says:

    Isn’t Xhaka injured?

  39. chas says:


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