First-half goals from Aaron Ramsey and Lucas Torreira have given us the advantage heading into the second leg of this Europa League quarter-final.
We came roaring out of the blocks, with Ramsey and Ainsley Maitland-Niles soon seeing shots blocked on after the other on the edge of the box.
But with the Emirates crowd responding vociferously to the attacking intensity we were showing, we continued to knock at the door – and soon we had the lead our start deserved.
The goal itself was a thing of beauty, a sweeping move involving Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Alex Lacazette before Maitland-Niles teed up the former to sweep the ball into the bottom corner.
We extended our advantage 10 minutes later, with Torreira – who had already stamped his authority on the game - seeing a shot from the edge of the area take a significant deflection to fly past Alex Meret.
It was just the start we wanted, and it could even have got better before the interval as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang twice went close, with Ramsey also seeing a shot saved.
But Napoli were much improved after the break, soon having a goal chalked off for offside before Petr Cech was called into action to tip over a Kalidou Koulibaly header.
But we continued to threaten, and only a fine Meret save denied Ramsey his second before Monreal headed just over from the resulting corner.
The Napoli goalkeeper then pushed over a bouncing Maitland-Niles shot as we pushed for a third, before the visitors missed a big chance when Piot Zielinski poked the ball over from six yards out.
Ramsey had a golden chance to wrap things up near the end when Henrikh Mkhitaryan found him with a cutback from the right byline, but he blasted his shot over.
But a 2-0 win was reward enough for a good night’s work – now to finish the job in Naples next week.
HOW IT HAPPENED
WHAT IT MEANS
We travel to Italy next week for the return leg with a encouraging two-goal advantage.
We have only played once at the Stadio San Paolo, back in December 2013, during the Champions League group stage but were beaten 2-0.
We’re back in Premier League action on Monday evening when we travel to Vicarage Road to take on Watford.
We've won four of our five previous games at the Hornets in the Premier League, but we lost there 2-1 last season.
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