Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey has admitted that the Gunners have not been up to par with their away form while speaking at the end of the 2-0 win over Napoli in the Europa League quarter-final.
The game saw Super Eagles star, Alex Iwobi, come on in the second half alongside Henrikh Mkhitaryan as the Premier League side claimed an advantage heading into the second leg next week.
But Unai Emery’s men would need to put their disastrous away record to bed if they are to come away from the San Paolo Stadium in Naples with a result good enough to carry the Gunners into the last four of the competition for the second consecutive season.
Welsh midfielder, Ramsey, who is off to Juventus at the expiration of his Arsenal contract in the summer, believes the North London side have got what it takes to secure qualification next week despite the poor record on their travels this year.
“We have won away from home this season so we are capable of doing it. We haven’t done so well [away] lately but we’re confident we can put that right,” said the 28-year-old who gave Arsenal the lead against Napoli at the end of a free-flowing move in the 15th minute.
Then Lucas Torreira saw a rasping drive from the edge of the area deflect of Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and into the Napoli goal to extend Arsenal’s advantage after 25 minutes.
But the home side went on to waste a number of good scoring chances and had to rely on some good defending as well as some stroke of luck to avoid conceding an away goal.
“To keep a clean sheet and score a couple of goals is a lovely way to start the first leg,” Ramsey stated after the match.
“We’re delighted with that. In the second half we suffered a lot, they’re a very good team. We had to dig in. But it’s a great start to the tie.”
The Cardiff-born star, who could have got himself a second goal, buttressed the importance of keeping the cleansheet heading into the return leg next week in Italy. “I should have scored again in the second half … but these things happen sometimes. We’re delighted to have kept a clean sheet. We can go into the second leg with a little cushion.”
He added that the team would be ready for the return leg: “[Napoli] were unlucky not to go through [in the Champions League] and they’re second in Serie A. They’re a tough team to play against. We know it’s a tough place to go so we have to be ready.”
The result meant Napoli’s terrible record on English soil continues, with the Italian Serie A side now having lost eight of their nine trips to England to face an English side.
Arsenal on their part claimed a second win in three meetings against Napoli while also getting a 13th win in 18 games at home in the Europa League.
Will Arsenal be able to get the needed result to overcome Napoli on aggregate and reach the last four of the competition? Let’s know what you think in the comments section.
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