Superb Lacazette free-kick takes Arsenal into Europa League last four

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Only two of Alexandre Lacazette's past 11 goals have come away from Emirates StadiumAlexandre Lacazette's first-half free-kick eased Arsenal into the Europa League semi-finals as they completed a 3-0 aggregate victory over Napoli.Lacazette's 25-yard effort flew into the top corner after the hosts enjoyed the better of the early chances.Arkadiusz Milik had a goal ruled out for offside while Petr Cech saved well from Jose Callejon.
Arsenal are scheduled to host Valencia in the first leg of their semi-final on Thursday 2 May (20:00 BST).In the end, it was a comfortable night's work for the Gunners as Unai Emery marked his 50th game as their manager. Arsenal, who arrived at the Stadio San Paolo with a 2-0 lead from the first leg in London, could have doubled their margin of victory on the night but home goalkeeper Alex Meret superbly saved from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the break.The only negative aspect of the evening for Arsenal was Aaron Ramsey hobbling off with a suspected hamstring injury.The Wales midfielder was withdrawn in the first half and will be a doubt for the club's remaining fixtures before his summer move to Juventus.
Reaction from all the Europa League games
Emery's tactical masterclass When it comes to the Europa League knockout stages, Emery has an unequalled managerial record - 26 wins. And his know-how from winning the tournament in three consecutive years (2013-14 to 2015-16) while manager of La Liga side Sevilla came to the fore in this second leg. While the 2-0 advantage from the first leg at Emirates Stadium gave Arsenal room for manoeuvre, there were few thoughts of simply playing to contain their opponents. Deploying a three-man defence allowed them to initially take the game to their hosts as Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac pressed forward and Lucas Torreira and Ramsey controlled proceedings in midfield.Napoli did respond but Lacazette's goal signalled the end of the home pressure and settled any lingering Arsenal nerves. It left Carlo Ancelotti's side needing to score four times and maintained the Gunners' record of scoring early on their travels - 16 of their past 18 away goals have been in the first half.With the cushion of their away goal, Arsenal deployed men behind the ball in the second period, allowing Napoli possession but few chances - with Lorenzo Insigne's tame effort the hosts' only shot on target.Napoli's missing swaggerWhile Emery was winning the first of his three Europa League crowns, Carlo Ancelotti was guiding Real Madrid to Champions League success. But after this defeat, the Italian will have to put thoughts of becoming only the seventh manager to win both of European football's major club competitions to the back of his mind.Only Udo Lattek, Bob Paisley, Giovanni Trapattoni, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Rafael Benitez had accomplished that feat previously and while Ancelotti's side embraced his instructions to play with "intensity and heart", there was an absence of quality from their performance. At times, they barely resembled the side with the swagger of Serie A's third-highest scorers, behind Juventus and Atalanta. Callejon missed a golden opportunity to score the game's opening goal - firing straight at Cech after a surging forward run from Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly. Poland forward Milik was also wasteful in front of goal, failing to register an effort on target despite being presented with two free headers in front of the Arsenal goal that should have brought more.And it ensured their Europa League campaign ended in an underwhelming fashion.
Man of the match - Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal)

Alexandre Lacazette's goal was the first free-kick scored by an Arsenal player in Europe since Thierry Henry against Roma in 2002-03
'Normally it will be some weeks out'- what they said
Arsenal boss Unai Emery, speaking to BT Sport: "I am proud of the players. We started very well. The first half was good because after we scored we continued not to give them opportunities. We defended well in the second half. In the two matches, we can be happy to win against Napoli."On semi-final opponents Valencia: "They are a very good team with good players. It will be a difficult match for us."On Aaron Ramsey: "It is a muscular injury. Normally it will be some weeks out for him. But we have other players and we can find a performance and rotate players."Asked if Ramsey has played his last game for Arsenal: "I don't know."Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti, speaking to BT Sport: "I think that we are not happy of course but in the two games where we didn't too well was the first 20 minutes in the first game. "We tried today. The first goal made it almost impossible. We needed to score four goals and lost confidence. We needed to score quickly. We had two opportunities."Arsenal are a good team, so it was difficult but we have to look forward. Until the Arsenal goal we did a good game."
Resolute Arsenal - the stats
Arsenal have kept nine clean sheets in their past 11 European games, conceding just four goals in that period.
Napoli have gone out of two European competitions this season after defeats by Premier League clubs - they exited the Champions League at the group stage after losing 1-0 at Liverpool in December.
The Italian side have lost three consecutive European games for the first time since February 2013.
No Premier League side has scored more goals via direct free-kicks in all competitions this season than Arsenal (four, level with Chelsea).
Arsenal posted a 30.3% possession figure against Napoli, their lowest such figure in any competition since February 2017 (25.7% v Bayern Munich in the Champions League).
Unai Emery has now won 26 matches in the Europa League knockout stages - more than any other manager.
Since his debut for Arsenal in August 2017, Alexandre Lacazette has had a hand in 46 goals in all competitions (33 goals, 13 assists), more than any other player for the club.
Lacazette is the first Arsenal player to score in Europe with a direct free-kick since Thierry Henry against Roma in 2002-03.
What's next[/IMG]
Match Stats
Live Text
19MaksimovicSubstituted forMertensat 45'minutes
31GhoulamSubstituted forMario Ruiat 71'minutes
7CallejonBooked at 90mins[/i]
5Marques Loureiro
24InsigneBooked at 43mins[/i]Substituted forYounesat 61'minutes
6Mario Rui
1CechBooked at 74mins[/i]
34XhakaSubstituted forElnenyat 61'minutes
8RamseySubstituted forMkhitaryanat 34'minutes
9LacazetteSubstituted forIwobiat 68'minutes
Referee:Ovidiu Hategan
Match Stats
Home TeamNapoliAway TeamArsenalPossessionHome70%Away30%ShotsHome20Away7Shots on TargetHome2Away4CornersHome9Away5FoulsHome6Away15
Live Text
Posted at
Match ends, Napoli 0, Arsenal 1.
Full Time
Posted at 90'+4' Second Half ends, Napoli 0, Arsenal 1.Posted at 90'+3' Attempt missed. Fabian Ruiz (Napoli) left footed shot from the right side of the box is too high. Assisted by Mario Rui with a cross.Posted at 90'+1' Corner, Napoli. Conceded by Laurent Koscielny.Posted at 90'+1' Attempt missed. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is too high from a direct free kick.
Posted at 90' Jose Callejon (Napoli) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.Posted at 90' Foul by Jose Callejon (Napoli).Posted at 90' Sead Kolasinac (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.Posted at 90' Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Allan.Posted at 89' Foul by Fabian Ruiz (Napoli).Posted at 89' Lucas Torreira (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Posted at 87' Amin Younes (Napoli) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Posted at 87' Foul by Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal).Posted at 85' Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Vlad Chiriches.Posted at 84' Attempt missed. Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Fabian Ruiz with a cross following a corner.Posted at 84' Corner, Napoli. Conceded by Laurent Koscielny.Posted at 83' Offside, Arsenal. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang tries a through ball, but Alex Iwobi is caught offside.Posted at 81' Corner, Napoli. Conceded by Sokratis.Posted at 81' Attempt blocked. Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Fabian Ruiz with a cross.Posted at 81' Corner, Napoli. Conceded by Lucas Torreira.Posted at 78' Delay over. They are ready to continue.Posted at 77' Delay in match Lucas Torreira (Arsenal) because of an injury.Posted at 77' Attempt missed. Piotr Zielinski (Napoli) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jose Callejon.Posted at 76' Jose Callejon (Napoli) wins a free kick on the right wing.Posted at 76' Foul by Alex Iwobi (Arsenal).
Posted at 74' Petr Cech (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card.Posted at 72' Attempt missed. Arkadiusz Milik (Napoli) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Fabian Ruiz.
Posted at 71' Substitution, Napoli. Mario Rui replaces Faouzi Ghoulam.Posted at 71' Corner, Napoli. Conceded by Laurent Koscielny.
Posted at 68' Substitution, Arsenal. Alex Iwobi replaces Alexandre Lacazette.Posted at 67' Attempt missed. Jose Callejon (Napoli) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Fabian Ruiz following a corner.Posted at 66' Corner, Napoli. Conceded by Laurent Koscielny.Posted at 66' Attempt blocked. Arkadiusz Milik (Napoli) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Faouzi Ghoulam.Posted at 66' Attempt missed. Faouzi Ghoulam (Napoli) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right.Posted at 63' Attempt missed. Vlad Chiriches (Napoli) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Dries Mertens with a cross following a corner.Posted at 62' Corner, Napoli. Conceded by Lucas Torreira.
Posted at 61' Substitution, Arsenal. Mohamed Elneny replaces Granit Xhaka.
Posted at 61' Substitution, Napoli. Amin Younes replaces Lorenzo Insigne.Posted at 60' Attempt saved. Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Piotr Zielinski with a through ball.Posted at 58' Attempt saved. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lucas Torreira with a cross.
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