Arsenal 2-1 Cardiff City: 5 Talking Points | Premier League 2018-19
Arsenal ground out a 2-1 victory over Cardiff City at Emirates on Tuesday. Though the home side looked lethargic for large parts of the game, they eventually got the job done, courtesy of goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.
Arsenal controlled possession in the early stages of the game yet weren’t able to create anything of note. The best chances in the first half fell to the visitors as Reid fluffed his lines on two occasions.
In the second half, Arsenal tried to raise the tempo. Manga's moment of madness in the 65th minute gave the home side a chance to go ahead from the penalty spot. Aubameyang made no mistake and slotted his spot-kick past Etheridge. 18 minutes later, Lacazette killed the game off will a well-taken goal.
Cardiff, though, pulled one back in stoppage time through Mendez-Laing yet it acted merely as a consolation rather than a catalyst for a comeback. The victory means that Arsenal are now level on points with Chelsea whereas the defeat left Cardiff three points off safety.
Here is a look at five talking points from the game.
#5 Arsenal produced an awful first half display
Ever since Unai Emery arrived in the summer, it has been tough to establish trends in the Gunners’ play with the Spaniard adopting a myriad of systems. Yet, one worrying pattern that has reared its ugly head time and again is Arsenal’s sluggish start to games.
On Tuesday evening, the Gunners enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the first half but failed to translate their domination of the ball into anything concrete. The midfielders lacked ideas with Elneny, in particular, guilty of slowing down the play.
Up front, Aubameyang and Lacazette too did not enjoy a good first half as the duo was largely anonymous and it was only towards the end of the game the latter found his feet. In addition, the Gunners’ transition from defense to attack was extremely lackadaisical as they allowed Cardiff City the time to reorganize and put men behind the ball.
Throughout the season, Arsenal have developed a reputation for being slow starters. Though it might not hurt them against teams in the bottom half, it surely has the ingredients to dent them against top-quality opposition.