Arsenal and Chelsea take one step closer to semis in the Europa League

An Aaron Ramsey strike and a shot from Lucas Torreira which deflected in off Kalidou Koulibaly gave the Gunners a 2-0 lead by half time over Napoli.

Unai Emery’s side are now massive favourites to go through ahead of the second leg in Naples next Thursday.

Arsenal lost to Atletico Madrid in the last four last season, but they shrugged off Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Everton to bounce back in style.

Crucially they did not concede an away goal too, as Petr Cech kept a clean sheet on what is set to be one of his last games for the club before he retires.

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Courtesy: The Himalayan Times

Goalscorer Ramsey said: "To keep a clean sheet and score a couple of goals is a lovely way to start the first leg. We’re delighted with that. We suffered a lot. They’re a good team and keep the ball well. We had to dig in. I should have scored in the second half again. We can go into the second leg with a little bit of a cushion. But we know it will be a difficult place to go. They were unlucky not to go through [in the Champions League]. They are a quality team. They’re a tough team to play against. We have given ourselves a great opportunity."

Unai Emery added: ”The first 90 minutes here we can impose a big plan. They can control ball with possession. They had one chance in the first half then two chances in second half. We deserved a third goal. Away there is going to be different. We need to be focused and clear. No more confident than we need."

Meanwhile in the Czech Republic, Marcos Alonso's late header dragged a lacklustre Chelsea to a 1-0 Europa League win at Slavia Prague.

The Spain full-back ghosted clear in the box to nod home Willian's teasing far-post cross, to hand the Blues the slender advantage midway through their quarter-final.

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Courtesy: Daily Post Nigeria

Chelsea came very close drawing their last-eight first leg tie at the Sinobo Stadium, the Blues struggling for fluency throughout a niggly night in Prague.

Replacement Ruben Loftus-Cheek's smart spin and break turned Slavia's defence at the death however, before Willian served up the perfect cross.

Alonso's third goal of the season and second in the Europa League proved just enough for Chelsea then, but the Stamford Bridge men will hardly be happy with their performance.

Maurizio Sarri said: "We knew very well that, to play here, is really very difficult. The opponents are really very physical, very aggressive. And so we knew very well that we had to face difficulties during the match. We were able to face them well, and then in the second half we were able to play better. Now I think we need to think that the second leg will be difficult because these opponents are really very dangerous also away. I'm really happy with the result. Also with the performance because, in this moment, we are able to suffer. In the past we were not able to suffer in the difficult moments of the match.”


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