With Arsenal’s terrible away record we were all hoping for a fast start at Cardiff to settle the nerves, and the Gunners tried to get at the Bluebirds right from the start.
Aaron Ramsey scored twice on his last visit to his old club and he nearly opened the scoring again after 10 minutes, but a brilliant last-ditch save by Neil Etheridge denies him. The very next minute Granit Xhaka stepped up and sent an excellent corner which was met just as brilliantly by Mustafi’s head to give Arsenal the lead. We can breathe a little more easily now.
Ozil could have made it two just minutes later but it was a very poor effort from the German. Arsenal still maintained most of the possession but on 20 minutes Cardiff were very unlucky not to equalize after some defensive mishaps by the Gunners as usual. This gave them a bit of confidence and they started to get at us more, and had another couple of very good chances before the half hour mark, but down the other end Lacazette dummied a pass and instead his shot from outside the box unluckily bounced back of the post.
After that Arsenal just seemed happy to cruise through to half time but Cardiff had a good spell and came very close just a couple of minutes before the whistle. Then suddenly as the clock ticked down Cardiff’s Camarasa finds the ball at his feet in the box, and Cardiff get their first goal of the season. Unbelievably it is 1-1..
The Gunners seem to have improved in the second half of this season’s game so hopefully Emery will work his magic (and bring Torreira on!) and we can kick on after the break.
Arsenal started the second half in lively fashion and yet again it our our defenders who come closest to scoring as Mustafi gets his head to a centre which is brilliantly saved by Etheridge. Arsenal carry on attacking and Xhaka skies one, but Cech only gets his first touch of the half after a back pass in the 12th minute but straight after their first shot (from ward) is also well over the bar.
Cardiff get one dangerous free kick but Arsenal take back control but still can’t get through the sea of blue to get near the goal. But the pressure finally pays off when Lacazette, who has been very dangerous, lays it off to Aubameyang and he puts it in the back of the net. Other than the goal we’ve hardly seen Auba all game! Hopefully this will give him his confidence back.
Guendouzi and Xhaka also get booked to add to Monreal and Bellerin and we will have a nervous last 20 mins.
Even more so when Cardiff come forward and Danny Ward gets his first ever EPL goal with a brilliant header. Arsenal have let Cardiff back in. Can our away hoodoo continue? 2-2…
Finally Emery brings on Torreira for Guendouzi, therefore closing the stable door, but there are still 20 minutes left….
Laca gets the next big chance with a glancing header from a corner but it goes straight at the keeper, and Cardiff are set to crowd the defence again and try and hold on for a point. But they can still break fast and a ball through the centre somehow leave our defence floundering but Cech stops it.
Arsenal fly back down the other end and we see Lacazette take a though ball brilliantly and lets it fly into the net. Not many keepers would have stopped that one. Arsenal take the lead for the third time and just needed to hold on for another ten minutes….
For some reason Emery puts on welbeck for Ozil. A proper winger perhaps?
And then the Gunners decide to crowd out our half and use Cardiff’s tactics of defending deep and try and keep the ball. Torreira is looking very composed and again we have to ask why he is not starting every game.
Cardiff go looking for the equalizer in stoppage time and Morrison nearly gets it as Cech goes walkabout, but he luckily puts it over the car or it would have been curtains for Arsenal.
Again Arsenal have dominated with 73% of the possession but they have hardly been commanding. But a win is a win is a win. Let’s celebrate just a little? At least we are in the Top Ten in the League table!