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Paper Talk: Chelsea's Coutinho

Chelsea chasing Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho is one of the transfer rumours doing the round in Tuesday's Paper Talk.

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package2

Premier League betting preview

Tuesday sees two games in the Premier League as Tottenham welcome Brighton and Watford take on Southampton. We have two best bets.

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Chelsea misfire in top-four battle

Maurizio Sarri was sent to the stands as Chelsea blew a big chance to stake their Champions League claim by slipping to a 2-2 Premier League draw with Burnley.

Check out today's Paper Talk4

Paper Talk: Lukaku leaving?

Juventus are eyeing Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku with Manchester United happy to listen to offers - get all the latest from today's back pages.

Sergi Canos celebrates his goal against Leeds5

Loss effectively ends Leeds' hopes

Brentford dealt Leeds' hopes of an automatic return to the Premier League a hammer blow with a thrilling 2-0 win at Griffin Park.

Arsenal 2-0 Napoli: Gunners take control of Europe League quarter-final

Aaron Ramsey scored a superb goal for Arsenal
Aaron Ramsey scored a superb goal for Arsenal

Arsenal took control of their Europa League quarter-final tie with Napoli as they outclassed their Italian opponents to secure a first-leg victory.

The Gunners extended their fine run of home form, this their 15th win from the last 16 games at the Emirates Stadium, as an Aaron Ramsey strike and a Kalidou Koulibaly own goal gave them a 2-0 victory to take to Naples next week.

Gunners boss Unai Emery had admitted on the eve of the game that he knew his team needed to win this first leg, given the stark contrast of their away form when compared to the near-perfect run at home.

They have lost both away knockout ties in this season's Europa League to BATE Borisov and Rennes, two teams not considered as strong as Napoli - who sit second in Serie A.

Arsenal managed to turn both of those ties around when back in north London but this time they need to defend an advantage as they look to reach the semi-finals for the second year in a row.

The hosts started well and enjoyed plenty of possession as both Ramsey and Ainsley Maitland-Niles saw efforts blocked by Koulibaly as they pushed for an early goal.

Emery's side made their good start count as Ramsey opened the scoring following a flowing move, latching onto a Maitland-Niles pass after good work by Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette.

The lead was doubled 11 minutes later as Lucas Torreira had the wherewithal to steal possession from Fabian Ruiz and charge at the Napoli goal before his weak shot was diverted past goalkeeper Alex Meret off the leg of Koulibaly.

Arsenal continued to create chances, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang twice drawing saves off of Meret as the first half wore on, although fit-again captain Lorenzo Insigne passed up a fine opportunity to half the deficit as he blazed over before the interval.

The visitors responded to their poor first-half showing as they attacked from the off after the break, Insigne tucking away a chance only to be correctly flagged offside before Koulibaly saw a header tipped over by Petr Cech.

Arsenal were still creating chances of their own and - following a short-corner routine - Ramsey stung the palms of Meret before Nacho Monreal headed the resulting corner over the crossbar.

With the game more end-to-end than in the first 45 minutes, Dries Mertens failed to connect with a header after Insigne played him in over the top of the Arsenal defence.

With Napoli coming more and more into the game, Emery responded by replacing Ozil and Lacazette with Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan for the final quarter of the contest.

Iwobi was involved immediately, starting a counter-attack which resulted in Maitland-Niles drawing another save out of Meret following a marauding run from Sead Kolasinac.

Napoli then missed their best chance of the night as Piotr Zielinski could only send Insigne's low cross over Petr Cech's crossbar from close-range.

Ramsey was next to spurn a marvellous opportunity as he spooned Mkhitaryan's cross well over the bar after being picked out free inside the Napoli box, with Aubameyang hitting the side-netting late on.

The visitors attacked in the dying stages in an attempt to get an away goal but Arsenal stood firm and head to the San Paolo Stadium as the favourites to advance to the last four.

Valencia late goals hurt Villarreal

Valencia scored twice in added-time to put one foot in the Europa League semi-finals with a 3-1 win over local rivals Villarreal at El Madrigal.

Daniel Wass struck in the first minute of added time to put Valencia in the driving seat ahead of the second leg at the Mestalla, before Goncalo Guedes grabbed his second of the match to leave Villarreal facing an uphill task.

Both sides were awarded penalties in a pulsating first half, with former Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla cancelling out Guedes' opener.

Only 60 kilometres separates the two sides on Spain's east coast, but Valencia's 12-place lead in LaLiga over relegation-threatened Villarreal suggested a potential gulf in class.

It was a gulf that threatened to become apparent as the visitors flew out of the blocks and won a penalty in the sixth minute when Guedes cut inside and was upended by Santiago Caseres.

Dani Parejo's penalty was well saved by Andres Fernandez, but Portugal winger Guedes reacted first to bury the rebound and grab a crucial away goal.

But the Yellow Submarines began to get a foothold in the match and threatened an equaliser when Cazorla's free-kick was inches wide on the half-hour mark.

The hosts were level six minutes later after Ezequiel Garay brought down former Leicester midfielder Vicente Iborra, giving Cazorla the chance to score from the spot - having missed a crucial penalty last Sunday in the defeat to Real Betis.

Javier Calleja's side continued their superiority after the break and pressed to take the lead.

Cazorla went close again, but was unable to keep a strike down from the edge of the area while Samuel Chukwueze was twice denied by Valencia keeper Neto before the hour mark.

Valencia though finished the game the stronger. Wass threatened seven minutes from time but his shot trickled harmlessly wide.

But the Dane made no mistake in the first minute of added time, latching on to Jose Gaya's low cross to bury from close range.

And Guedes poked the ball past Fernandez to give Valencia a commanding advantage.

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Most Read Football

Get all the latest football gossip from the day's back pages
1

Paper Talk: Chelsea's Coutinho

Chelsea chasing Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho is one of the transfer rumours doing the round in Tuesday's Paper Talk.

Sporting Life's Premier League preview package2

Premier League betting preview

Tuesday sees two games in the Premier League as Tottenham welcome Brighton and Watford take on Southampton. We have two best bets.

=?UTF-8?Q?Burnley=E2=80=99s_Ashley_Barnes_celebrates?=3

Chelsea misfire in top-four battle

Maurizio Sarri was sent to the stands as Chelsea blew a big chance to stake their Champions League claim by slipping to a 2-2 Premier League draw with Burnley.

Check out today's Paper Talk4

Paper Talk: Lukaku leaving?

Juventus are eyeing Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku with Manchester United happy to listen to offers - get all the latest from today's back pages.

Sergi Canos celebrates his goal against Leeds5

Loss effectively ends Leeds' hopes

Brentford dealt Leeds' hopes of an automatic return to the Premier League a hammer blow with a thrilling 2-0 win at Griffin Park.

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