Alexandre Lacazette fired Arsenal to an accomplished 1-0 win at Napoli as Unai Emery’s men cruised into the Europa League semi-finals 3-0 on aggregate.
The Premier League side began confidently in defence of their first-leg advantage and did not allow a couple of close defensive shaves and a hamstring injury to Aaron Ramsey to throw them off course.
Lacazette’s wonderful 36th-minute free-kick proved the difference on the night, leaving Carlo Ancelotti’s hosts with a mountain to climb.
Arkadiusz Milik’s wayward finishing did little to help their cause and Emery can look forward to a semi-final showdown with his former club Valencia.
It was Napoli who threatened first when Lacazette was dispossessed by Kalidou Koulibaly, who charged forward on the break in the 17th minute and collected Fabian Ruiz’s pass to find Jose Callejon.
Petr Cech denied the ex-Real Madrid forward before Milik fluffed his lines from a close-range header – misses Napoli would regret shortly after the abrupt conclusion to what might prove Ramsey’s last Arsenal appearance.
Nikola Maksimovic fouled Lacazette 25 yards from goal and the France striker dispatched a sweet strike beyond a motionless Alex Meret in the Napoli goal.
Meret partially atoned for his passivity by making a brilliant save from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after Ramsey’s replacement Henrikh Mkhitaryan laid on a glorious 48th-minute chance.
Lorenzo Insigne appeared to be offside when he charged in behind the Arsenal defence to test Cech – the Italy international’s last act before being substituted on his 300th Napoli appearance.
Left-back Faouzi Ghoulam and Callejon both fired wide as the home team tried in vain to build an ambitious final charge.
Milik’s woeful attempt to slide home at the back post with 15 minutes to play summed up his efforts, with Nacho Monreal’s carelessly booted clearance straight at Cech arguably the closest Napoli came to a goal.