Lacazette’s winner gives Arsenal first away win of the season as they beat Cardiff 3-2
Cardiff City 2 Arsenal 3
Alexandre Lacazette’s first goal of the season gave Arsenal a deserved three points this afternoon after Cardiff had twice come from a goal down.
Shkodran Mustafi headed the Gunners into the lead from a corner after 11 minutes, and after Nacho Monreal was denied by Bluebirds’ keeper Neil Etheridge just minutes later, the Welsh side were level thanks to Victor Camarasa.
In the build-up to the goal, Granit Xhakha was once again guilty of a misplaced pass, and with Uruguayan World Cup star Lucas Torreira edging closer to a first team start every game, the Swiss international must surely be under pressure for his place now, for he continues to make critical mistakes which are costing the north Londoners time and again.
Despite their deficiencies at the back, Arsenal looked menacing every time they went forward, and regained the lead through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang midway through the second half.
But as soon as they had regained that lead the Gunners surrendered it again, allowing the promoted side back into the game thanks to Danny Ward’s header.
However, it was fitting that man-of-the-match France striker Lacazette would net the winner, and that’s exactly what happened when he hammered home from an acute angle on the right side of the box inside the final 10 minutes.
The Gunners hung on to claim their first win on the road of the season, climbing to ninth place in the Premier League in the process.
The front line is beginning to gel. Aaron Ramsay looked sharp in a free role behind the strikers, and Aubameyang and Lacazette troubled the Welshmen all afternoon.
But Unai Emery will know as well as the long suffering Gunners fans that it is the back line that needs patching up before Arsenal will be able to seriously threaten the big boys again.
Not for the first time today it was clear that Petr Cech simply cannot play the Unai Emery way. Once, almost critically, he gave the ball away when attempting to play out from the back. It’s one thing trying to carry out the manager’s instructions, but sometimes just hoofing the ball clear is what is required. And not for the first time this season, Cech was to blame for almost costing Arsenal a goal.
It’s a mystery why Emery paid such a huge sum for a new goalkeeper in the summer yet refuses to play him. Surely it cannot be too long before that decision is taken and we see Bernd Leno.
The other major problem is Xakha. He gives the ball away a good half a dozen times each game. And while against teams like Cardiff our strikeforce can often paper over those cracks, sides in the other half of the table will not be as forgiving.
But this season, as we all know, will be a learning curve for us Gooners. We all know the weaknesses of the side and what we already knew has only been confirmed in the first weeks of this season.
But there are also some very big positives. Aubameyang and Lacazette are gelling well, Torreira is improving every game, Sokratis doesn’t look out of place in the Premier League and Ramsay is getting back towards his best.
This year is going to be a rollercoaster, but there’s plenty to look forward to.