Arsenal triumphed over Cardiff in a 3-2 Premier League thriller on Sunday afternoon, as the visitors gave away their lead twice before finally sealing the win late on in the match.
After a nervy opening, the visitors took the lead after 11 minutes, as Shkodran Mustafi broke away from his marker to power home a header from Granit Xhaka's corner.
The Bluebirds looked shaken but continued to press the Gunners and were rewarded on the brink of half-time, as Víctor Camarasa smashed in a close range finish to the delight of the home fans.
Arsenal pulled back in front midway through the second half, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang neatly controlled Alexandre Lacazette's dainty back-heel and expertly bent a sumptuous finish into the bottom corner. The Gunners; lead didn't last long, as Danny Ward nodded home from a set-piece to draw his side level.
With ten minutes to go, Lacazette put his side back in the lead, as he drilled in a venomous strike at the near post. Despite some late scares, Arsenal held on for the three points, leaving the hosts to rue their missed opportunities.
Key Talking Point
The scenes of sheer pandemonium when Camarasa opened the scoring for the home side showed how desperate the supporters and players have been for a goal, as they finally netted their first goal of the Premier League campaign.
Let's be realistic here, Neil Warnock's side are never going to score goals by playing luxury football, but their tactic of breaking down the wings and loading the box with players came off a treat for Camarasa's goal, and could continue to pay dividends throughout the season if the side can continue to threaten in the air. Likewise, set-pieces will also be crucial.
Starting XI: Neil Etheridge (6) Joseph Bennett (6) Sol Bamba (4) Sean Morrison (5) Bruna Manga (5) Harry Arter (7) Víctor Camarasa (6) Joe Ralls (5) Danny Ward (7) Junior Hoilett (6) Bobby Reid (6)
Substitutes: Zahore (6) Madine (N/A)
Star Man - Harry Arter
Throughout the 90 minutes, Harry Arter played with the kind of dogged determination usually only observable in a herd of elderly supermarket shoppers battling it out for the last bag of reduced Cumberland sausages. The Bournemouth loanee showed superb work rate in chasing down his opposition players, and was unlucky not to get on the score sheet.
Here's how his performance went down on social media:
Harry Arter pivotal in everything Cardiff do. Got to get him on the ball— Adam Williams (@AdamWilliams12_) September 2, 2018
I actually love Harry Arter— max (@TheMaxHomewood) September 2, 2018
Worst Player - Sol Bamba
At Premier League level, you simply can't switch off, not even for a moment. Unfortunately for Bamba, his lapse of concentration was brutally punished, as he allowed Mustafi to break away and score the opening goal.
The Ivory Coast international was also caught out of position on a number of occasions, and was targeted by the Gunners as a weak link in the defence.
Key Talking Point
To be fair, Arsenal probably wouldn't have got three points out of this fixture last season, and credit has to go to the Gunners for grinding out the win despite losing their lead on two occasions against the Bluebirds. In particular, the blossoming partnership between Lacazette and Aubameyang was a real positive for Emery's side.
Clearly, Emery is sticking to his guns, and wants his side to play out from the back whenever possible. The Arsenal defence still seem to be struggling with this transition, but time will tell whether their new manager's approach can prove a success in the long-term.
Starting XI: Petr Čech (5) Héctor Bellerín (5) Shkodran Mustafi (7) Sokratis (5) Nacho Monreal (6) Granit Xhaka (5) Mattéo Guendouzi (8) Aaron Ramsey (6) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (7) Mesut Ozil (5) Alexandre Lacazette (8)
Substitutes: Lucas Torreira (7) Mkhitaryan (N/A) Welbeck (N/A)
Star Man - Mattéo Guendouzi
It was a tough test for the Gunners, and the continued progression of Mattéo Guendouzi will be a real positive for Arsenal fans to mull over during the international break. The 19-year-old looked composed and assured in midfield, and his awareness to drop back into defence showcased exceptional decision making skills for such a raw talent.
The 19-year-old's silly booking for an off the ball foul proved that he's still far from the finished product, but his overall performance was one of sheer quality: Here's how his performance went down on social media.
Guendouzi makes me happier with every game.— Aniela (@ani_ela_) September 2, 2018
Guendouzi; future Arsenal skipper if the moneyed clubs don't come calling. Kid can't be 19...— Temisan Okomi (@temiokomi) September 2, 2018
Guendouzi is so assured on the ball... Great prospect— Cuppy😍😍 (@__Shola) September 2, 2018
Worst Player - Mesut Ozil
Such was his lack of impact on the game, you'd be forgiven for having not even realised Ozil was on the field against the Bluebirds.
Meandering around the field and halfheartedly jogging back into position, the Germany international put in an abject performance that will do little to win over the Arsenal fans who remain unimpressed with his lacklustre efforts.
Arsenal will head into the international break feeling reasonably optimistic, having bounced back from losses against Manchester City and Chelsea to pick up six points in their clashes against West Ham United and Cardiff City. Unai Emery's side will face a tricky trip to St James' Park to face Newcastle United on 15 September.
Neil Warnock's men were arguably hard done by against the Gunners, and will feel aggrieved to have walked away without a point. The Bluebirds will look to regroup ahead of a visit to Stamford Bridge a week on Saturday, to take on Maurizio Sarri's high flying Chelsea side.