Frank Stubbs: Simply stunning

13/14: Arsenal 2-0 Napoli - Mesut Ozil

From the moment the final whistle blew on Tuesday night a procession of tweets started to arrive on my mobile phone asking for my opinion on what was an extremely special evening. Knowing I was very busy yesterday I tweeted that my thoughts would be available on Thursday. I did express my intention to offer considerable praise and positivity!

Taking on Napoli, a side sitting pretty towards the summit of Italy's top flight, was going to be as interesting as it was tough. It gave us a chance to see just how far we have come against one of Europe's current top club sides.

Arsenal-bashing is a popular pastime as we all know and some of the comments during this fine run have not only been detrimental to the quality of our performances and results but also to each and every team we have played.

Somewhat incredibly there are still some out there who spent most of their 'punditry' criticising our opponents on Tuesday night rather than giving our quite awesome performance the credit it deserved.

The show we produced in the first half was absolutely stunning. In fact I would go as far as to say it was one of the most powerful, exciting and enjoyable halves I have seen us put together in the 35-plus years I have been going to watch our team.

We came out of the blocks like a sprinter and our opponents just could not cope. Our two goals were things of sheer beauty, especially the first, emphasised by the gasps throughout the stadium as well as cheers and roars.

The half-time break saw a sea of smiles but accompanied with nerves as we knew we were only halfway there. That inkling of pessimism inside me that we might 'blow it' was consoled by the fact I had just witnessed my team produce one of the best halves of football I had ever seen and no result could take that away!

The power and excitement of our first-half performance was matched by the sheer professionalism we showed in the second. Our defensive shape was quite superb, reducing our opponents to shots from distance and a few crosses that Chezz dealt with comfortably. Not only that but the three or four good chances that did arise all fell to us.

The atmosphere on the night was fantastic at times too, almost 'old skool' in fact, hopefully a example that we are all finally getting used to our new home.

Overall then a very special night and one to savour as we head back to West Bromwich for our next league encounter.

A number of replies on Twitter have reminded me that it is still early days and not to get too carried away. Believe me I have my feet firmly on the ground and I know we are only as good as our next game. For one night only however, I thought we were simply stunning and it gives me a great deal of pleasure to shout that out loud!

Talking of which, I'm sure all you travelling Gooners will join me in giving it plenty more of the same during our tough encounter with The Baggies on Sunday afternoon.

Come on you mighty Gunners!


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