Champions League: Arsenal v Napoli - LIVE! - Live coverage - The Independent

Champions League: Arsenal v Napoli - LIVE!

By Jack de Menezes
by Jack de Menezes on Oct 1, 2013 at 8:44 PM
Welcome to The Independent's live coverage of tonight's Champions League Group F clash between Arsenal and Napoli at the Emirates Stadium.

Follow the latest updates below...
  • Full-Time: Arsenal 2 (Ozil 8', Giroud 15') Napoli 0 
    • Ozil scores his first goal for the Gunners to give them the lead. Giroud adds a second with a neat finish from close range
    • Gonzalo Higuain ruled out with injury; Jack Wilshere on the bench for Gunners
    • Full-Time: Steaua Bucharest 0 Chelsea 4 (Ramires 2, Georgievski, Lampard); Celtic 0 Barcelona 1 (Fabregas) - Celtic captain Scott Brown sent-off
    10/1/2013 5:11:27 PM
  • 28 mins: Flamini goes in hard on Callejon, and while it looked to be a perfectly timed tackle, referee Milorad Mazic doesn't like it, and gives the Italian a stern telling off. A prime example of a Premier League tackle being given as a foul in Europe.
    10/1/2013 7:15:22 PM
  • 30 mins: Giroud and Ramsey are floating around the Napoli penalty area, and they look a threat each time they get the ball. The Welshman does briliantly to spin past Inler, and after excahnging passes with Ozil, he just gets the ball caught under his feet and the chance goes. Brilliant stuff though from the midfielder, and he is in unplayable form at the moment.
    10/1/2013 7:17:51 PM
  • 33 mins: Ozil wins a corner after Zuniga knocks it out. The German delivers, and Reina again punches clear. Both Rosicky and Flamini go for the same ball, and end up in each others way.
    10/1/2013 7:19:00 PM
  • 34 mins: Rosicky gives a foul away with what looked to be a fair shoulder barge, but Mazic isn't keen to let things go tonight. Gibbs does well to dispossess Hamsik, but Rosicky can't find Ozil when they're on the break.
    10/1/2013 7:20:29 PM

  • 36 mins: Szczesny is forced into save, though Insigne's shot is tame and didn't look to be threatening the goal. Napoli have done well to recover after the quick start by Arsenal, but Ramsey and Ozil are dominating the midfield, and you would say that the scoring is not finished just yet.
    10/1/2013 7:22:30 PM
  • 38 mins: Flamini and Ozil bypass Inler as if he's not even on the pitch, it is that easy in the midfield. With Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky all dropping deep and pushing forward in turn, Napoli don't know who to mark, allowing the Gunners to hold onto the bulk of possession.
    10/1/2013 7:24:20 PM
  • 40 mins: Ozil knocks it to Ramsey, who flicks the ball over Zuniga back into the path of Ozil. His cross is just too high for Giroud, but with Rosicky steaming in from the back post, Britos gets an important touch to take it away from the Czech and the chance goes.
    10/1/2013 7:26:24 PM
  • 42 mins: Sagna knocks it behind the defence for Rosicky, who does well to cross from the by-line. Giroud stretches for it, and as he and Albiol fall to the floor, the ball ends up at the feet of Ramsey, but he is robbed before he can get the shot away with the goal at his mercy. It's eventually cleared, and there's some worries from the Arsenal bench over Ramsey, who has now gone gone and isn't moving freely. He'll carry on for now though.
    10/1/2013 7:29:00 PM
  • 45 mins: Arsenal are keeping the ball among their back four, a appear to be trying to play out time until the interval. No minutes added on (despite two goals, which regulations say should add 30 seconds per-goal onto the half) and that'll be it for the first half.
    10/1/2013 7:31:24 PM
  • Possibly the best opening 30 minutes to have been seen from an Arsenal side for a long time. They burst out of the blocks and took the game to Napoli, who had no answer for their quick, one-touch passing. Wenger's decision to pack the midfield has been fully vindicated so far, but Benitez needs to do something about Sagna, who will not have had an easier 45 minutes in both defence and attack. If Arsenal can keep up their intensity, they should have no problems in the second period, with Napoli yet to record a meaningful shot on target.
    10/1/2013 7:34:32 PM
  • However, there were questions over the fitness of Ramsey going into both this game and the weekend victory over Swansea. He certainly pulled up in the final minutes of the half, and Wenger may decide to bring him off for the second half. Regardless, both he and Ozil have been sublime, and all of this with Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere missing from the starting line-up.
    10/1/2013 7:36:13 PM
  • Elsewhere, Chelsea are holding a slender lead over Steaua Bucharest thanks to a goal from Ramires, who missed the Basle tie due to suspension. The bigger result of the other two domestic games though is north of the border, with Celtic holding Barcelona to head in goalless at the break. The Scots have also had a few chances to take the lead, though Barcelona unsurprisingly have dominated possession. Could it be yet another shock win at Celtic Park?
    10/1/2013 7:38:21 PM
  • Having seen a replay of the Ozil goal, you can see why Wenger was willing to shell out over £40m on the 24-year-old. His first time shot, as the ball came across him onto his left foot, saw him just cut across it to swerve his shot away from the outstretched hand of a diving Reina. A brilliant finish that many would struggle to even attempt, let alone replicate.
    10/1/2013 7:40:45 PM
  • Aren't Arsenal fans happy when their side plays like this...

    10/1/2013 7:42:03 PM
  • 10/1/2013 7:44:01 PM
  • Chelsea added a late second through a Georgievski own goal, and the appear to be cruesing as well. The teams are back out, and we're ready to go again.
    10/1/2013 7:46:58 PM
  • 46 mins: An early chance for Arsenal, with Giroud easing down the right. Closing in on goal, he cuts it back to Rosicky, who is unable to connect on the half volley. A real chance for a third there and that would've killed the game off.
    10/1/2013 7:48:57 PM
  • 48 mins: Flamini slips and allows Callejon to break, but the Italian midfielder gets back to cover. He pushes the former Real Madrid forward to the ground, but referee Mazic allows it to go. Should have been a free kick to Napoli. Pandev leaps into Arteta, causing a heavy collision that leaves them both down. While it looked reckless, his eyes were on the ball and it looked accidental.
    10/1/2013 7:51:36 PM
  • 51 mins: Arteta goes to the sidelines for treatment as there appears to be blood coming from a cut on his head. Pandev comes back on, and Napoli look to build from the back as the try and take advantage of 10-man Arsenal. Grioud has just dropped back to help out while Arteta is off.
    10/1/2013 7:53:11 PM
  • 53 mins: Arteta returns after a minute or so off the pitch. Mesto and Inler are starting to link-up down the right, but it falls back to Callejon to lash over - again. 
    10/1/2013 7:55:03 PM
  • 54 mins: Rosicky gives the ball away needlessly in midfield, but he and Flamini do well to cover and stop the chance. Meanwhile, Marco Reus has doubled Dortmund's lead against Marseille in the other game in this group.
    10/1/2013 7:56:28 PM
  • 56 mins: Zuniga does well to break down the right, and his cross is a dangerous one that is put out for a corner by Mertesacker. Szczesny comes a long way off his line to claim the ensuing cross, but he does well to diffuse the chance.
    10/1/2013 7:58:37 PM
  • 58 mins: Arsenal have eased off the gas worryingly, and Napoli are having much more success in midfield than they won in the first half. Ramires has smashes home his second and Chelsea's third, and the Blues appear home and dry in Romania.
    10/1/2013 7:59:59 PM
  • 60 mins: Insigne works himself a chance, and he's getting closer, but not close enough for the Italian side. Goran Pandev is replaced by Dutchman Dries Mertens as Benitez looks to inject some life into his lacklustre side. Meanwhile, Celtic's job against Barcelona has suddenly become much harder with Scott Brown having been sent-off for a foul on Neymar.
    10/1/2013 8:02:57 PM
  • 63 mins: Giroud springs the offside trap and gets to the by-line on the left. His low cross, searching for Gibbs, is knocked out for a corner. Rosicky makes way for Jack Wilshere, who gets a big cheer as he comes on. It doesn't get any easier for Napoli. Ozil's delivery finds Mertesacker, but it rises high and it's easy for Reina to claim.
    10/1/2013 8:05:04 PM
  • 65 mins: Well, Ozil actually gets dispossessed - he is human - but he does well to win the ball back before it's cleared. Play is stopped with Giroud holding his face, and Behrami just caught him as the two contested a header. He'll be fine to continue though.
    10/1/2013 8:07:01 PM
  • 67 mins: Zuniga works his way in-field from the left, and plays a neat one-two with Hamsik, but his first time shot is not pretty at all, and goes blazing over the bar. There's a slight worry with Arsenal here, as they did have built a two-goal cushion before only to sit back and let the other team back into the game. You'd like to see them score a third to really nail home their advantage.
    10/1/2013 8:09:33 PM
  • 69 mins: Arteta is tackled robustly by Callejon, but instead of use the chance, Inler shoots from over 30m out and it's an absolute waste.
    10/1/2013 8:10:38 PM
  • 70 mins: Sagna finally continues his success down the right and again he is completely unmarked. his delivery is poor though, and a free-Wilshere lets him know his feelings through his gesture of frustration.
    10/1/2013 8:11:58 PM
  • 71 mins: Mertens shows why he has been brought on, dancing his way past Arteta and trying to curl a right-footed shot past Szczesny, but that's easy for the Pole to get to. Napoli's first real attempt on goal, and it was still from well outside the Arsenal area.
    10/1/2013 8:13:30 PM
  • You wouldn't want to meet the Napoli fans in a dark alley...

    10/1/2013 8:16:14 PM
  • 75 mins: Napoli are starting to click here, with Mertens providing much of the creativity they need. He links with Insigne who has another shot, but it's cleared and Arsenal break quickly. Wilshere loops round Ozil, but it goes out for a corner. The corner needs two attempts to come in, but when it does Koscielny has a chance from point-blank range. Reina saves well, and it's knocked out for another corner. Duvan Zapata comes on for Jose Callejon, and Celtic have unfortunately conceded to Barcelona through former Gunners captain Cesc Fabregas.
    10/1/2013 8:19:03 PM
  • 78 mins: Albiol gives away a free kick on the right of the Napoli half, and Ozil will send it in. The delivery is poor though and doesn't beat the first man.
    10/1/2013 8:20:17 PM
  • 80 mins: Into the final 10 minutes. Can Arsenal find a third and really kill off the tie? Perhaps more importantly, can they keep a clean sheet, which has averted them in recent games.
    10/1/2013 8:21:51 PM
  • 81 mins: Flamini chips forward to Giroud, whose header is knocked on for Ramsey to chase onto. I;m a little surprised to still see Ramsey out there, especially with Gnabry on the bench. Wilshere picks up the ball on the left, but his cross clears everybody and goes out harmlessly for a goal kick.
    10/1/2013 8:23:24 PM
  • 82 mins: Raul Albiol goes off and is replaced by Federico Fernandez. Lewandowski has converted a penalty to put Dortmund 3-0 up, and it looks as though they will join Napoli on three points after tonight.
    10/1/2013 8:24:46 PM
  • 84 mins: Duvan gives away a needless free kick in Arsenal territory, and Napoli really aren't going for the win. you'd expect them to be throwing a lot more forward, but they haven't looked in the game at all here tonight.
    10/1/2013 8:26:04 PM
  • A job well done for the Gunners...
    10/1/2013 8:27:41 PM
  • 87 mins: Arteta wins the ball in midfield, and immediately Giroud, Wilshere and Ramsey spin to break up-field. Giroud can't find a pass though and the chance goes. Finally, Ramsey goes off after possibly his best performance this season - even though he hasn't got on the score-sheet - and he is replaced by Nacho Monreal as Wenger looks to see out the 90 minutes.
    10/1/2013 8:29:45 PM
  • 89 mins: Arteta is fouled by Behrami, and the Spaniard is incensed after he feels there's s boot left in on his back after the collision. Nothing much in it though. Arsenal break again, but Wilshere is swamped in the box and Napoli clear.
    10/1/2013 8:31:13 PM
  • 90 mins: Three added minutes...
    10/1/2013 8:31:31 PM
  • 90+1 mins: Arteta and Wilshere sweep through the Napoli midfielder as if it isn't there. They work the ball to the left, and Wilshere sends in a cross that Giroud just can't get onto, and he would have surely scored had he made contact. Frank Lampard has added a fourth for Chelsea after good work from Samuel Eto'o and Willian.
    10/1/2013 8:33:45 PM
  • 90+3 mins: Ozil gives away a free kick, but that'll be it. Arsenal take the easy win and the enthralling contest we had all anticipated never materialised unfortunately.
    10/1/2013 8:35:03 PM
  • Arsenal sit pretty atop Group F on six points, with Mesut Ozil's first goal for the club and Olivier Giroud's sixth of the season enough to see off the Italian side. Rafael Benitez continues his run of having never won when visiting the Gunners, and he will deeply unhappy with what he saw from his side today.
    10/1/2013 8:37:05 PM
  • Solid performance from the gooners. Good job lads ip the gooners
    10/1/2013 8:37:12 PM
  • Having seen their frustrations in the transfer window reach near-boiling point, Arsenal fans will now be questioning why they were ever panicking. Some of their play in the first 30 minutes was simply breathtaking, with the term 'shock and awe; never more appropriately used in footballing terms. The one disappointment will have been the way they eased off in the second half - and they really slowed the tempo compared to the opening 45 minutes - but it showed just how poor Napoli were tonight that they still couldn't work a realistic chance.
    10/1/2013 8:40:25 PM
  • The victory also lessens the pressure put on the back-to-back matches with Borussia Dortmund, who join Napoli on three points after a comprehensive 3-0 win over Marseille thanks to a Robert Lewandowski double and a free kick from Marco Reus. Those two matches will be no less thrilling to watch though, but Arsenal could realistically aim to take four points from the two games and still stand as favourites to qualify from the group.
    10/1/2013 8:43:07 PM
  • Elsewhere, Chelsea returned to winning ways in Europe with a 4-0 victory over Steaua Bucharest. Ramires scored twice while Frank Lampard rounded out the scoring after Daniel Georgievski scored an own goal. Jose Mourinho will be concerned though after Fernando Torres was forced off with injury. They face a double-header against group leaders Schalke next, after they beat FC Basle to sit pretty at the top on six points.

    And the dream faded late on at Celtic Park after captain Scott Brown was controversially sent-off. Cesc Fabregas scored shortly after to give the Catalan's the win, and breathe a sense of relief through a team that was missing the injured Lionel Messi. In the other game in Group H, there was late drama when Ajax took the lead against AC Milan in the last minute of regular time, but that man Mario Balotelli converted a penalty four minutes into injury time to salvage a draw in Amsterdam.
    10/1/2013 8:50:02 PM
  • Olivier Giroud celebrates his sixth goal this season after doubling Arsenal's lead

    10/1/2013 8:50:49 PM
  • Our chief football write Sam Wallace spots something that represents Napoli's entire performance tonight...

    10/1/2013 8:53:46 PM
  • That's it from me tonight. I hope you've enjoyed our live coverage of tonight's Champions League action. Join us again tomorrow when we'll bring you further live action from Europe as the two Manchester clubs get set for action, with a mouthwatering tie between Manchester City and Bayern Munich our feature game. Thanks for joining me, and I'll leave you with a clearly delighted Arsene Wenger celebrating Arsenal's second goal to send you off for the night.
    10/1/2013 8:59:06 PM
  • 10/1/2013 8:59:15 PM
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