Arsenal finally got their new season under way after winning their first away match of the season, travelling 205 kms to Cardiff City Stadium.
The Gunners, looking for another victory after defeating West Ham at home, traveled to Wales in hopes to take another 3 points, helping them move up to the ninth position with 6 points out of a possible 12.
Unai Emery started with his usual 4-2-3-1 formation, making 2 changes from the side that faced West Ham at home. Mesut Ozil and Alexander Lacazette replaced Henrikh Mikhitaryan and Alex Iwobi. Ozil was previously dropped from squad that faced West Ham due illness.
However, Emery started the former Schalke star against Cardiff. There have been some whispers that Ozil cannot keep up with the high-energy pressing game. But the Spaniard fielded a more attacking based side which would favour the German international’s style.
Ozil and former Cardiff favourite Aaron Ramsey were given an opportunity to roam in behind, and for large periods in the first half, Arsenal‘s shape and attacks troubled the Welsh side.
And what the former PSG boss would’ve wanted, happened, with the Gunners taking the lead through a Shkodran Mustafi header, 11 minutes into the first half. The corner swung in by Granit Xhaka, Mustafi rose to finish a power header past the Cardiff keeper.
Arsenal looked strong right from the kick off and could’ve been 2-0 inside the first 20 minutes, making a huge mountain for Cardiff to climb in the own backyard. Nacho Monreal forcing Etheridge to make a wonderful stop from point-blank range. Arsenal came frustratingly close in the 33rd minute to making it 2-0 when Lacazette rattled the inside of the post only to see it not go inside the goal. The English side were punished for not taking their chances and Victor Camarasa equalized for the Bluebirds, netting for the first time in 1597 days.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Lacazette were both determined to get on the score sheet and Aubameyang did when they both combined perfectly to allow Aubameyang to score; curling the ball into the goal, just past the hour mark.
Lucas Torreira only played 20 minutes today but completed 26/26 passes, won 6/6 duels, 3/3 tackles and provided the winning assist. There isn’t a simpler way to put it: he needs to start.
— Patrick Timmons (@PatrickTimmons1) September 2, 2018
Cardiff came close to scoring another goal and equallised when The Bluebirds found a goal from nothing with 20 minutes remaining when Sean Morrison flicked on a free-kick and Ward crashed home a header off the inside of the post.
Cardiff, now back into the game, both the teams pushed hard to take home all 3 points, with Reid bursting clear and firing straight at Cech. It was however, Lacazette who stole the match with 9 minutes to play. Assisted by Torreira, Lacazette smashed the ball into the near post, ensuring the three points go to the North London side.
Morrison’s late header over the bar with Cech completely stranded almost provided even further drama, but Arsenal held to their nerves. This was a game for the attackers and Lacazette provided the moments of quality that mattered. The French striker scored the winner, assisted the second and might have scored in the first half when his shot hit the inside of the post.
I know it was only Cardiff but Lacazette was sharp on Sunday. Technically and physically, surely broke his sprints per game record in an Arsenal shirt.
— Kanu AFC 🍓 (@GiroudJesus) September 4, 2018
The match ended 2-3 and Arsenal finally win an away match with 72% possession and 11 on target. Lacazette was named the man of the match and Unai Emery clearly happy, told Sky Sports:
“I enjoyed the win. In the 90 minutes it was difficult. I think we controlled the match not every time but 70% on the pitch with possession, positioning attacking movement.
“It’s important to continue working .One goal for Lacazette, one for Aubameyang, but I think every other player worked well with commitment we want. We are happy for that and we are evolving.”
The win at Cardiff has instilled a new lease of life to the Arsenal fans, after a rather dull beginning to the new season. The win has brought confidence to the London side who seem to have found the tune to sync their players together.
Emery’s side created tons of chances but could not find the back of the goal, which the the problem with Arsenal right now. They play beautiful football but the goals need to be flying in and somehow, they aren’t. The Gunners would take all 3 points but Cardiff need to be praised for clinging on till the end. Arsenal however held onto the pressure and came out victorious.
The Emirates outfit would be hoping to play the same football next match, when they face Newcastle in a daunting match at St James’s Park.