UEFA Champions League, Halftime Snapshot: Arsenal dominating, Chelsea on the rebound


A dominant first half by Arsène Wenger’s side has made the day’s marquee UEFA Champions League match into a one-sided affair, with early goals from Mesut Özil and Olivier Giroud putting Napoli, giving in their worst performance of the season, down 2-0 in North London.

The Gunners certainly deserve their share of credit, however. Though Napoli’s defense looked helpless to prevent it, a beautifully executed movement from Giroud, Aaron Ramsey, and Özïl finished with the German’s eighth minute surgical finish from just inside the penalty area. Seven minutes later, Özil returned the favor, assisting on a Giroud goal that doubled the Arsenal lead.

It’s strange to see a Rafa Benítez team defend so poorly, the team’s conservative road pose undone by poor play at the back. At the same time, this is the kind of dominant performance that feeds into the emerging Arsenal narrative. Rather than kick the ball around and be content with control over production, the Gunners showed an early ruthlessness, putting the Neopolitans to sword within the first quarter hour.

Elsewhere, and own goal just before half time has doubled Chelsea’s lead in Buchrarest, while Porto and Borussia Dortmund have also taken one-goal leads into halftime at home.

Here is your halftime snapshot, with numbers courtesy of Opta and WhoScored.com:

Group Home-Road Score Shots Shots
on Goal
E Steaua Bucharest-Chelsea 0-2 2-12 0-4 48-52
E Basel-Schalke 0-0 2-4 0-0 54-46
F Arsenal-Napoli 2-0 6-5 3-0 69-31
F Borussia Dortmund-Marseille 1-0 9-2 4-2 43-57
G Zenit St. Petersburg-Austria Wein [FINAL] 0-0 19-18 4-5 57-43
G Porto-Atlético Madrid 1-0 9-4 1-1 34-66
H Celtic-Barcelona 0-0 2-6 1-0 18-82
H Ajax-Milan 0-0 5-0 2-0 74-26