On a night of ridiculous Premier League results elsewhere, Arsenal overcame Cardiff City by two goals to one on a somber, snowy night at the Emirates. Both sides paid their respects to Emiliano Sala and David Ibbotson before kick off, in a moving tribute.
What followed though was a lacklustre first half, with the Gunners especially poor as they failed to register a shot on target, and continuously allowed the Bluebirds in on the counter. Unfortunately for the visitors, they were equally profligate, and had the same inaccuracy from double the shots on own goal (eight).
After a similarly turgid start to the second half, Arsenal finally found a worthwhile opportunity. Subsititute Alexander Iwobi played a teasing ball into the path of Sead Kolasinac, who was clumsily brought down by Bruno Manga for a penalty.
And Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who’d been anonymous to poor up until that point, made no mistake with the resulting 12-yard strike.
His strike partner Alexandre Lacazette, who had outperformed him in every facet save for the scoresheet, finally joined him there on the 83rd minute to secure the points, though Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s late score put that momentarily in doubt.
Though they could’ve had four or five by the end, it would’ve been interesting to see how Arsenal would’ve fared had Manga not brought down Kolasinac. The goal naturally eased the Gunners, finally allowing them to play some actual football after 60 minutes of anything but.
In the end, of course, it was all about the points, and Cardiff are certainly one of the more resolute outfits out there, but Unai Emery will surely be concerned by his side’s inefficiencies for a large part of this game.