It was an exciting game full of targets and full of mistakes, and at the end Unai Emery could breathe a sigh of relief as he celebrated a second consecutive victory of the Arsenal. Cardiff pushed Arsenal to their limit, to the limit, helped by a terrible defense and another difficult afternoon for Petr Cech, but in the end Emery's team had too much firepower in front.
Twice Neil Warnock's team came from behind to peg the visitors back, with Cardiff scoring their first Premier League-goals of the season in the process, while Victor Camarasa and Danny Ward took advantage of well-known defensive weaknesses in an Arsenal team that eight goals had admitted four games in their opening.
The good news for Arsenal, however, is that things start to click on the other side of the field, where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette scored their first goals of the season. Shkodran Mustafi got the other with a powerful header on a day when the art of defending seemed to disappear from the window for both teams.
It was one of those games that never became boring. That was clear with less than 30 seconds on the clock, when Petr Cech got himself into a jumble in the six-yard box in an effort to tackle a back-pass from Sokratis Papastathopoulos. It was a sign of things that would come to Cech and Arsenal, who were very happy not to fall behind in the seventh minute, when the goalkeeper made a pig's ear from another back-pass of the same player. Cech, clearly uncomfortable with the ball at his feet and the playing style that Emery demands from him, brought the ball straight to Harry Arter, while Cardiff set the field high. A few Arsenal players held their hands only for Arter to strike a right-handed shot from just inside the area over the bar. What a delay for Emery's team.
From Cardiff's point of view it was a golden opportunity wasted and worse to follow for the home team, as Arsenal took the lead through Mustafi, just a few minutes after the German had given a presentable opportunity over the bar after Neil Etheridge & # 39 ; s save from Aaron Ramsey. Granit Xhaka delivered the corner from the left – one that Cardiff could have avoided in the first place – and Mustafi escaped from Sol Bamba, his marker, to put a shot into the netting.
Although Lacazette hit the post later in the first half, Cardiff reacted well behind. A nice move towards Cardiff, in which Bobby Decordova-Reid and Camarasa were involved, ended with the first who provided a low inviting center that Danny Ward agorizingly came close to a touch while the ball slid over the box. Junior Hoillet, hanging on the other side of the road, then viciously wasteful high and wide.
Arsenal dominated possession, but they remained defensively vulnerable and in that respect it was not a real surprise when Cardiff brought parity to peace of mind after a catalog of errors that began with Xhaka carelessly giving away possession with a quirky pitch that landed right at the feet of Junior Hoilett, in half of the visitors.
Hoilett moved the ball to Joe Bennett via Arter and Arsenal brought himself into a terrible mess trying and not to deal with the left back's cross. Nacho Monreal somehow allowed Camarasa to get him out of the far post – the failure of an Arsenal player to attack the ball with some conviction was alarming – and the Spaniard turned before he shot an upward shot Cech struck. Cue delirium among the home supporters when they celebrated their first Premier League goal for 1.597 days.
The second half followed a similar pattern as the first. Cech passed the ball directly to a Cardiff player within 60 seconds after the restart and not long after, Etheridge was full-length to block another Mustafi header from a corner. Arsenal, strangely enough, looked at their most dangerous of the set pieces until the beautiful passage of the game that saw Aubameyang recover their lead.
Mesut Ozil, who returned to the Arsenal line-up in a broad role, drew a pass to the feet of Lacazette, whose clever first time in the pursuit found Aubameyang. Sean Morrison backwards, Aubameyang put the ball on his right foot and curled a beautiful shot in the far corner of 18 meters.
What followed was classic Arsenal. Anthony Taylor's decision to punish Lacazette for a foul on Arter was questionable, but Arsenal had to defend the set so much better than she did. Ramsey somehow ended Morrison, Cardiff's central defender, who towered over him to nod over the target. Ward was then left completely unmarked, although that did not have to take away from the quality of the header that came in.
Arsenal had to react again and they managed to come to a winner. Lucas Torreira, who was impressed after entering the second half of the bench, released Lacazette in the penalty area and the Frenchman made the most use of the room that Bamba offered him to shoot a right foot in the near post Defeat Etheridge. Incredibly enough, Morrison could have made it into the injury time, but went from inside the box.