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Unai Emery hailed Alexandre Lacazette’s “big capacity” to score after he netted a brilliant winner for Arsenal against Cardiff.
Lacazette struck a rasping shot high into Cardiff’s net nine minutes from time at the Cardiff City Stadium as Arsenal edged a Premier League thriller 3-2.
Shkodran Mustafi and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – with his 150th goal in the top five leagues of European football – twice gave the Gunners the lead before Lacazette struck.
Victor Camarasa and Danny Ward grabbed equalisers as Cardiff scored their first goals since returning to the Premier League, but Arsenal held on for only their second away league win in 2018.
“I know him (Lacazette) from Lyon,” Emery said. “He has a big capacity to score when he is in the box.
“We gave him good options to score, and today he showed us what he could do, and it is good for his confidence.
“What happened on the pitch is good for the confidence of the team.
“The character is very important and that we show it each match. It was the same when we needed to win after the first two games, to be calm, which is the most important thing.
“We had chances to score, good attacking moments, but Cardiff had some good strong moments as well. I think we controlled the match 70% on the 90 minutes.”
Arsenal were lucky not to fall behind when goalkeeper Petr Cech presented Harry Arter with a clear opportunity after seven minutes. But Emery defended his policy of Cech playing out from the back.
“He (Cech) has experience,” Emery added. “He is doing like we want him to do. It is very important to me to continue doing this and improving.
“If you are playing long balls all the time, you are not showing your personality.
“It is clear you can do one mistake in one action, but we need to continue doing this to help us create attacking space.”
Cardiff have claimed just two points from their first four league games, but manager Neil Warnock was heartened by the performance.
“I was very proud of them,” Warnock said. “We aren’t good enough to park the bus, we would have lost 1, 2 or 3-0, so we decided to have a go.
“It was old fashioned stuff today, we attacked when we could. We had a lot of plans that came off today.
“I would take 0-0 every time, but I would rather enjoy watching my team.
“We had some great chances today. I can’t remember how many times I had my head in my hands. I can’t fault the effort from our players, we have a great bunch really.”
CARDIFF: Etheridge, Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Bennett, Camarasa (Madine, 89 mins), Arter, Ralls, Hoilett, Reid, Ward (Zohore, 84 mins). Unused subs: Harris, Peltier, Paterson, Cunningham, Brian Murphy.
Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Papastathopoulos, Monreal, Guendouzi (Torreira, 70 mins), Xhaka, Ozil (Welbeck, 84 mins), Ramsey, Aubameyang (Mkhitaryan, 89 mins),Lacazette. Unused subs: Elneny, Lichtsteiner, Holding, Leno.