Champions League

Arsenal cruise to easy win over Napoli

Champions League: Arsenal vs. Napoli
Champions League: Arsenal vs. Napoli
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Mesut Ozil scored a stylish first goal since becoming Arsenal's most expensive player as the London club coasted to a 2-0 victory over Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Just a month into his Arsenal career, Ozil's impact has been devastating, living up to the club-record transfer fee of 50 million euros ($66 million).

After the assists, came the first goal in an Arsenal shirt on Tuesday, a stylish finish before setting up Olivier Giroud as the London club coasted to a 2-0 victory over Napoli in Champions League Group F.

On the day Arsene Wenger marked 17 years in charge at Arsenal, belief is growing at the club that a first trophy since the 2005 FA Cup could be possible, although there's a long way to go until May.

Arsenal is top of the Premier League, and now three points clear of both Napoli and last season's Champions League runners-up Borussia Dortmund at the top of one of the toughest groups.

Ozil took just eight minutes to put Arsenal in front at the Emirates Stadium against Serie A's second-place club.

Giroud brought the ball down with his chest on the right touchline and flicked it onto Aaron Ramsey, who delivered the cross that Ozil sidefooted with his first touch into the net.

''His skill, his finishing, it is everything that you dream to see when you sit in the stands watching football,'' Wenger said. ''It's always on your mind a little bit (scoring your first goal) so he got rid of it.''


Relive the best action shots from the UEFA Champions League.

The Germany playmaker then turned provider to set up Giroud in the 15th minute.

Napoli gave the ball away from its own throw-in and Ozil seized possession, cuttubng in before squaring for Giroud to sweep past goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

''It's really good to play with (Ozil) and I have a good relationship on the pitch, a good understanding,'' Giroud said. ''It's really easy to play with him.''

The cushion was enough, and although Arsenal couldn't find a way past Reina again, the second successive group stage win was never in doubt from that point.

''The first half was outstanding,'' Wenger said. ''The second half we played more with maturity but less drive going forward, more cautious ... the team had that dilemma, they played not to make a mistake.''

Defensively solid while still dangerous up front after the break, Arsenal swept to an impressive 10th win in a row in all competitions since losing the Premier League opener to Aston Villa.

''We got so much stick at the start of the season that I'm a bit cautious,'' Wenger said. ''(Ozil) gave a great lift around the club and belief.''

This wasn't the return to London that Napoli coach Rafa Benitez desired, having been jeered by his own Chelsea fans last season during an unpopular interim reign.

The Spaniard rued the lack of concentration that led to Arsenal scoring the quick-fire goals.

''We lost the ball on several occasions and we paid for those mistakes against a team with a lot of quality,'' Benitez said through a translator.

''We know we have quality, but we must show it from the start of the game.''

Napoli, which saw its perfect start in Serie A end last week, was without striker Gonzalo Higuain, with the one-time Arsenal target missing out through injury.

''If we miss a player like Higuain we miss a lot,'' Benitez said.

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