Cardiff 2-3 Arsenal: Alexandre Lacazette hits late winner for Gunners
Report and highlights as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also strikes
By Ron Walker
Last Updated: 02/09/18 8:04pm
Alexandre Lacazette's 81st-minute winner saw Arsenal edge out a spirited Cardiff side 3-2 for Unai Emery's first away victory as head coach.
Shkodran Mustafi headed the Gunners in front after 12 minutes from an Aaron Ramsey corner, but Cardiff had several chances to level before Víctor Camarasa turned Joe Bennett's cross home at the second attempt in first-half injury-time to finally net their first goal of the season.
The goals kept flowing after half-time with a brilliant curled Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finish from outside the box (62) putting Arsenal back ahead, before Danny Ward levelled from a Sean Morrison flick at a free-kick (70).
But Emery's first away success was secured nine minutes from time when Lacazette swivelled and fired a rocket of a shot inside Neil Etheridge's near post.
Cardiff: Etheridge (6), Manga (6), Morrison (7), Bamba (5), Bennett (7), Ralls (6), Hoilett (6), Arter (6), Camarasa (7), Reid (7), Ward (7).
Subs: Zahore (n/a), Madine (n/a).
Arsenal: Cech (5), Bellerin (6), Sokratis (6), Mustafi (7), Monreal (7), Xhaka (6), Guendouzi (6), Ramsey (6), Aubameyang (8), Lacazette (8), Ozil (5).
Subs: Torreira (6), Welbeck (n/a), Mkhitaryan (n/a).
Man of the match: Alexandre Lacazette
Harry Arter should have put Cardiff ahead inside seven minutes as the hosts stifled the space Arsenal wanted to play out from the back, but, after intercepting a wayward Petr Cech pass to Matteo Guendouzi, he blazed over when unmarked on the edge of the area.
Arsenal showed more clinical finishing when they took the lead soon after, as Ramsey's corner was met with a bullet header from Mustafi to leave Etheridge helpless in the Cardiff goal.
Arter had another good chance from Morrison's knock-down but could not keep his shot down again, but on the stroke of half-time Cardiff finally broke their goalscoring duck.
Granit Xhaka's lazy cross-field ball was picked off by Junior Hoilett and Bennett's cross took a nick but fell kindly for Camarasa, who fired high into the net as Cardiff became the last of the 92 teams in the domestic football pyramid to register their first goal.
After half-time Arsenal began to win the midfield battle, but for all their possession they struggled to test Cardiff until Lacazette's deft back-flick found Aubameyang's run and he curled a beautiful strike into the far corner.
Cardiff made two changes from their draw at Huddersfield, recalling Bobby Reid for Kenneth Zahore and giving Danny Ward a first Premier League start ahead with Nathaniel Mendez-Laing injured.
Arsenal started Alexandre Lacazette for the first time this season, while Mesut Ozil also returned from illness.
Cardiff instantly responded, having found their shooting boots, and Morrison was again used from a free-kick, this time to nod back across goal where Ward was waiting to head in off the far post.
Just as Cardiff looked like they might earn an impressive point, Lucas Torreira's pass into the box found Lacazette on the turn and he struck a shot so powerful Etheridge barely moved as it whistled inside his near post.
Cardiff had a glorious chance to level in the final minute of stoppage time but Morrison, at it again, headed over from a free-kick with Cech off his line.
- Arsenal have collected six points in their last three away Premier League games (W2 D0 L1), as many as in their previous 11 away games combined (W1 D3 L7).
- Cardiff are winless in six matches in all competitions (D3 L3), their worst run under Neil Warnock and worst since a run of eight in January and February 2015.
- Since his Premier League debut in February, only Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (15) has scored more Premier League goals than Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (11).
- Victor Camarasa's goal for Cardiff ended a run of 415 minutes without scoring for the Bluebirds in league competition.
- All six of Shkodran Mustafi's Premier League goals have been scored via set-pieces (three from corners, three from free-kicks), with five of them headed goals.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's strike from outside the box ended his personal run of 76 consecutive goals from inside the box in club football - his last from outside the box before today was against Spurs for Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League in March 2016.
- Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette has been directly involved in seven goals in his last five Premier League starts (5 goals, 2 assists).
- Cardiff striker Danny Ward made his first Premier League start - 3,305 days after his first appearance in the competition for Bolton Wanderers in August 2009.
Man of the match - Alexandre Lacazette
He scored the winner, but Lacazette showed his other qualities in making Aubameyang's goal and creating three chances through the game, the second-highest figure of anyone on the pitch.
He rewarded Emery for having the faith to give him a first start of the season in fine style, and led the line brilliantly throughout.