Wednesday 02 October 2013
Arsenal and Chelsea made light work of their UEFA Champions League group matches with Mesut Ozil inspiring the Gunners to a 2-0 success against Napoli at Emirates Stadium and Chelsea running out 4-0 winners at Steaua Bucharest.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hailed an "outstanding" performance by Mesut Ozil whose first goal for the club and an assist for the second goal ensured their Serie A opponents were dispatched with relative ease.
"Özil had an outstanding first half. Everything you want from a fantastic player – teamwork, skill, passing, shooting – so just sit there and enjoy it"
Napoli came to London having beaten Borussia Dortmund in their opening group match and flying high in second place in the Italian top flight, but they had no answer to the pace and verve of an Arsenal side who took control of the match early on.
Transfer deadline-day signing Ozil gave the Gunners the lead with a wonderful eighth-minute strike after Aaron Ramsey had raced down the right flank and picked the Germany international out with a low cutback. The playmaker met the pass with a side-footed first-time effort that left goalkeeper Pepe Reina with no chance.
Seven minutes later the hosts doubled their lead after pressing Napoli into ceding possession. This time Ozil turned provider, picking out Olivier Giroud at the near post to score from close range. With Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta screening the Arsenal rearguard the visitors were limited to a Miguel Britos header and a Dries Martnes shot, which was directed straight at Wojciech Szczesny, and Arsenal held on for a comfortable second win of the campaign, that placed them three points clear at the top of the group.
"It was a very enjoyable evening," Wenger told UEFA.com. "In patches when we went forward you could see that the third goal was there if we really pushed for it.
“[Mesut Özil] had an outstanding first half. Everything you want from a fantastic player - teamwork, skill, passing, shooting - so just sit there and enjoy it. I loved him in Madrid as well, I must say. We were just lucky to have got him. He has integrated very quickly, he has come during a period where we are doing well, so that maybe made it easier."
Chelsea got their European campaign back on track with a comfortable triumph in Romania as Ramires scored twice to help the Blues seal their first win of the group stage and manager Jose Mourinho praised the "fundamental" contribution of Andre Schurrle.
"We scored four and probably could have scored six or seven because we played really well"
The visitors got off to a false start when Fernando Torres sustained a knee injury that forced his withdrawal after just 10 minutes, but Chelsea were largely unaffected and took the lead 20 minutes in when Schurrle teed up Samuel Eto'o, whose weak shot was turned in by Ramires.
Eto'o was also involved in the second goal shortly before the interval when his shot was saved by Ciprian Tatarusanu, only for the ball to ricochet in off retreating defender Daniel Georgievski.
After the break Chelsea assumed total control, Schurrle again heavily involved as he cleverly dribbled out of a tight spot, hared down the left wing and picked out Oscar, who fed Ramires to score his second goal of the evening on 55 minutes. Though Schurrle himself came close to scoring with a low effort that curled narrowly wide, Frank Lampard capped a good night's work for the 2012 winners firing in off the post from 20 yards in the last minute.
The victory moved Chelsea up to second place in Group E, three points behind Schalke and level with FC Basel
"The result was obviously very good," said Mourinho. "The performance was also very solid. We kept control of the game and the result and we played good football with intelligence and maturity away from home.
"[André] Schürrle was fundamental. We identified what we had to do to penetrate their defence. He was the man for that. He was in the position where we knew we could [have success] and we played from there. We always had control of game. We scored four and probably could have scored six or seven because we played really well."
Manchester United and Manchester City are in Champions League action on Wednesday evening with both sides seeking to build on opening group successes. David Moyes's charges go to Shakhtar Donetsk, while Man City are home to the defending European club champions, Bayern Munich.
Chelsea gave another emphatic performance in the inaugural UEFA Youth League as, like the senior team later in the evening, they overcame Steaua Bucharest with four unanswered goals.
Steaua Bucurest 0-4 Chelsea
Comprehensive winners on matchday one, Dermot Drummy's team produced a second successive 4-0 triumph in the Under-19 competition featuring clubs from the 32 UEFA Champions League participants in an autumn programme that mirrors the senior sides' group stage campaigns. John Swift gave the Blues the lead after 27 minutes and provided the assist for Alexander Kiwomya to score six minutes after the interval. Swift then doubled his tally with a fine individual goal before Kiwomya matched his team-mate with a second strike of his own two minutes from time.
Arsenal are looking to add to their 4-1 success against Marseille a fortnight ago this evening when they face Napoli in the same competition at Borehamwood's Meadow Park at 7pm.
UEFA Champions League results
Arsenal (Ozil, Giroud) 2-0 Napoli
Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Marseille
Basel 0-1 Schalke
Steaua Bucharest 0-4 Chelsea (Ramires 2, Georgievski og, Lampard)
UEFA Youth League results
Basel 0-5 Schalke
Steaua Bucharest 0-4 Chelsea (Swift 2; Kiwomya 2)
Borussia Dortmund 5-2 Marseille
UEFA Champions League fixtures
Kick-offs 7.45pm unless states
Bayer Leverkusen v Real Sociedad
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester United
7pm CSKA Moscow v Viktoria Plzen
Manchester City v Bayern Munich
UEFA Youth League fixtures
Bayer Leverkusen v Real Sociedad (12pm)
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester United (1pm)
CSKA Moscow v Viktoria Plzen (10am)
Manchester City v Bayern Munich (3pm)