Did Napoli demolition represent Arsenal's best 45 minutes at the Emirates?

By Avenell Dave

Sometimes, football takes your breath away. 

Sometimes there are few superlatives that can adequately describe a performance. 

Sometimes we need to all take a look at ourselves and thank the footballing Gods that we have Arsene Wenger.

Yes, the Barca victory in 2011 was superb but there was something about this performance that set it apart. We controlled the game. Put it out of sight and then set out to contain and control. 

It was assurance and professionalism personified. Never did we look in danger. This is how football is supposed to be, but in recent years, rarely has been where Arsenal are concerned.

If I had any reservations about Napoli coming to town,  they were that Messrs Giroud and Ozil had been relatively quiet in the Swansea game.

Knowing what the media are like, it doesn't take long before that turns into 'big name signing fails to live up to reputation' reports. 

Twenty minutes into last night's game and any such thoughts were well and truly put to the sword. 

The way Giroud flicked the ball to Ramsey, his vision to pick out Ozil and the German's finish - surely one of the best goals we have seen at the Emirates - will live long in the memory. 

While the second goal may not have been quite so exquisite, it still did much to kill off the threat of our visitors.

But what I loved most about the game, apart from the scintillating football, was the way we continued to chase and harry and give a pretty decent Italian side nothing more than a sniff of goal over 90 minutes. 

With Wojciech Szczesny coming for crosses with the confidence and composure that underlines his own development and showing such a greater ability to distribute the ball, we had a strong foundtaion to build from. 

And in Flamini and Arteta, we had something akin to the Vieira/Petit protective axis that served Wenger so well in years gone by. 

There's no doubt that Flamini and Ozil have made a difference to the side, providing steel and silk that has lifted the entire team.

But much of what impresses me is the way the entire team is now starting to gel.

We will have off-days of course. But we are continuing the good form we had at the end of last season and players such as Giroud, Mertesacker, Ramsey and even Gibbs are showing the benefits of extended runs, fitness, Premier league experience and a togetherness that overcomes adversity. 

For that, Wenger deserves a lot of credit. he laid the foundations for our superb run over the course of the past 18 months despite the financial constraints he had. 

If we can keep our winning run going until the WBA game, it will make for a fine spell of form, particularly with players coming back. 

One of my esteemed supporter friends said that he did not think Giroud was good enough for a title winning team and I know what he means.

Giroud is not an Aguero, a van Per$ie or a Suarez even. But his link-up play, his ability to hold up the ball and win virtually every header, not to mention the benefits he brings when helping out in defence at corners should not be ignored.

Perhaps the best comparison is that he is a modern day Alan Smith, a player who served us well and helped us win two titles. Granted, we could do with a new Ian Wright or Thierry Henry to play along side him or in place of him on occasions but let us wait and see what happens in January. 

For now, let's enjoy the fact that we are top of our group and two home wins will ensure qualification - but I feel we can win this group. 

We have players returning and a collective spirit that reminded me, dare I say it, of the high pressing and skillful Barca. We may not be quite at their level but I'll settle for our form as it is.

Long may it continue.