Europa League Review - Arsenal score 2-0 win over Napoli

By Sports Desk April 12, 2019

Goals from Aaron Ramsey and an own goal from Kalidou Koulibaly gave Arsenal a 2-0 win over Napoli in the first leg of the Europa League quarterfinals.

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  • Mertens: Napoli must buy players amid James links Mertens: Napoli must buy players amid James links

    Dries Mertens said Napoli must buy new and "top level" players if they want to dethrone Serie A champions Juventus.

    Napoli have been linked to Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez throughout the transfer window as they look to eclipse back-to-back runners-up finishes.

    Colombia star James is wanted by head coach Carlo Ancelotti and Napoli, though a deal with the LaLiga giants is yet to be completed.

    As the season edges closer, Napoli – who finished 11 points adrift of Juve last term – need to reinforce their squad, according to veteran forward Mertens.

    "I just want to say that I see other teams are buying a lot, we've signed Kostas [Manolas]," the 32-year-old Belgium international, who has been linked to the Chinese Super League, said during a Q&A.

    "All those we buy must be at the top level and therefore someone like James would be welcome to aim even higher. He could make the difference.

    "I think we need to buy great players to raise the level of the team. We already have a strong squad, but if we want to win something, we need to buy in order to raise the level. That is clear."

    Napoli have already boosted their defence with the signing of Greece international Manolas from Italian rivals Roma.

    Manolas is set to form one of the best centre-back pairings in Serie A alongside Kalidou Koulibaly following his €36million arrival.

    "I found a very good atmosphere and a warm welcome," Manolas said. "I won't tell you the reason I left Roma, as it's personal. The first call I received about Napoli was from my agent, then the director and the coach.

    "They made me feel secure about my decision and it was clear straight away that they really wanted me in this team. I never had doubts, that's why I chose Napoli and I am sure I made the right decision.

    "I liked watching the way Napoli played and was eager to become a part of it. I'd give anything to win the Scudetto here.

    "Carlo Ancelotti is unique for what he's won throughout his career. I promise that I'll do everything I can to help the team achieve their targets and aim as high as possible."

  • Sarri betrayed Napoli by joining Juventus – Insigne Sarri betrayed Napoli by joining Juventus – Insigne

    Napoli star Lorenzo Insigne reiterated that Maurizio Sarri betrayed the club by joining Serie A champions Juventus, while the captain said he wants to retire at Stadio San Paolo.

    Former Napoli head coach Sarri angered players and fans in Naples when he swapped Premier League outfit Chelsea for rivals Juventus last month.

    Sarri guided Napoli to three consecutive top-three finishes during his time at the club before leaving for Chelsea in 2018.

    Insigne was vocal at the time, warning a move to Juve would represent "a betrayal" of Napoli and the club icon stood by his comments on Monday.

    "I said it and I say it again, for us Neapolitans, that was a betrayal," Insigne said during a Q&A session.

    "Now we have to focus on ourselves and try to beat him. The Scudetto is a dream for all of us and we will try once more."

    Insigne's future has been the subject of speculation as he waits to sign a new deal with Napoli.

    The 28-year-old – who emerged from the youth team of his boyhood club in 2010 – is contracted to Napoli until 2022.

    Insigne has been linked to Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool previously, and when asked if he could move abroad the Italy international added: "No. I'm still young, I'm happy in Naples and want to stay here for the rest of my career.

    "Scoring that goal against Real Madrid gave me such strong sensations and I hope other young Neapolitan lads can feel the same way in future.

    "It is the dream of all Neapolitan boys and I am very proud to be in this position."

    Insigne made 28 Serie A appearances last season, scoring 10 goals as Napoli finished runners-up to Juventus.

  • Overmars tells Arsenal: Sell Ozil and buy Ziyech from Ajax Overmars tells Arsenal: Sell Ozil and buy Ziyech from Ajax

    Arsenal should sell polarising playmaker Mesut Ozil and sign Hakim Ziyech from Ajax, according to former Gunners star Marc Overmars.

    Ozil has long been a contentious figure at Arsenal, with many supporters underwhelmed by his performances in recent years despite being one of the Premier League's highest-paid players.

    The German seemingly failed to endear him to head coach Unai Emery, who afforded Ozil only 20 league starts in 2018-19.

    In contrast, Ziyech, a hard-working attacking midfielder, was inspirational in Ajax's run to the Champions League semi-finals and is reportedly available for the relatively low figure of €35million.

    Dutchman Overmars - who is technical director at Ajax - claims he told Arsenal to replace Ozil with Morocco international Ziyech, but his advice went unheeded.

    "I am a bit surprised that it is still so quiet around Hakim," Overmars told Voetbal International.

    "I think he has played better every year and his statistics are exceptionally good. Many clubs are increasingly looking at that.

    "They look more at the numbers than at what he shows and what is happening around him. I think Hakim Ziyech is better than Mesut Ozil.

    "I would say [to Arsenal]: sell him [Ozil] and you will get Ziyech for half the price, but they didn't listen to me. So, it could just be that he stays with Ajax."

    One Ajax star who is being strongly linked with other clubs is David Neres, the Brazil international winger who also enjoyed a strong campaign.

    Atletico Madrid are said to be the favourites to land him and Overmars did confirm an offer has been made to Ajax, with the bid from an unnamed club set to be discussed in the coming days.

    "Next week we are going to the table [for discussions] with his guidance," Overmars said. "For David, one club's interest is concrete, with an offer.

    "We will then talk about that, but it is the intention that we as Ajax are leading [the discussions]. He was able to leave for China last winter, but we didn't let him go.

    "Look how it worked out for Ajax, but also for him; he is now an international with Brazil."

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