The Bluebird’s first goals of the season from Victor Camarasa and Danny Ward were not enough to win any points against Arsenal.
From the start it was clear Cardiff’s intent was to defend from the front. Harry Arter skied a golden opportunity after some brilliant closing down from Bobby Decordova Reid, who forced goalkeeper Petr Cech into playing a poor pass.
Sean Morrison looked awkward early on and a mix up between him and Neil Etheridge resulted in Cardiff conceding two unnecessary corners in the first ten minutes. The second of these corner’s saw Mustafi put Arsenal 1-0 up, punishing Cardiff’s sloppy defending with a first-time, bullet header.
Just a few minutes later, after failing to make a basic clearance, Bruno Manga was saved his blushes when Etheridge made a strong save from Monreal’s strike from 12 yards out.
It was a thrilling opening 20 minutes, with end-to-end attacks. Bobby Reid drilled an enticing cross for Junior Hoilett, who couldn’t quite stretch to bury the ball from 6 yards.
Reid then tried the spectacular with an overhead kick in the 18 yard box in a desperate attempt to score Cardiff’s first of the season, but the ball only flew over the bar.
Lacazette almost put Arsenal 2-0 up after his sidefoot strike from just outside the box almost found the bottom corner, luckily for Cardiff, it hit the woodwork.
Ryan Giggs sat alongside Osian Roberts and FAW Chief Executive Jonathan Ford on Sunday afternoon, all watching star Welshman, Aaron Ramsey flourish for the away side in the first half.
It was evident that Cardiff were trying something different – Bruno Manga and Joe Bennett were operating in much further forward positions when Cardiff were in attack.
This finally paid off when Joe Bennett whipped in an inviting cross that fell to Victor Camarasa. He was able to smash the ball into the roof of the net just before half time for Cardiff’s first goal of the season.
Arsenal dominated possession for the opening 15 minutes of the second half, but squandered all of their opportunities in front of goal. Cardiff looked organised and composed at the back and more dangerous on the counter attacks.
Though it only took two more minutes – Aubameyang rifled a beautiful strike into Neil Etheridge’s left corner to put Arsenal 2-1 ahead, when Bamba and Morrison failed to close down the forward.
The home fans really drove on Cardiff to get a second goal and the team began to pile the pressure on Arsenal from set pieces, as well as utilising Morrison’s long throw.
Joe Ralls floated a great free kick into Arsenal’s 18 yard box to centre back, Sean Morrison. The Cardiff captain knocked the ball back across to Danny Ward, and he managed to head it into the bottom corner to give Cardiff a much deserved equaliser to put the game 2-2.
Bobby Reid could have put Cardiff ahead a few minutes later by passing the ball to Junior Hoilett who had yards of space to himself, instead he hit the ball straight at Petr Cech.
Alexandre Lacazette punished Cardiff with a well driven strike into the back of the net from 6 yards to put the away side 3-2 up with 10 minutes to go.
Neil Warnock brought off goalscorer Danny Ward for Kenneth Zohore and Victor Camarasa for Gary Madine, in an attempt to score a third goal to at least draw the match.
Unfortunately, it was little too late for the Bluebirds. There was a final chance when Zohore crossed the ball for Morrison, for him only to head straight over the bar for a goal kick.
33,000 fans at the Cardiff City Stadium were highly entertained, but the majority will be very disappointed to see Cardiff finish the game with zero points.
Neil Warnock speaking to Sky Sports:
“It’s tough but I really enjoyed the game, it was a great game to watch from the sideline and I thought we were always in it.
“Top teams take their chances, there’s a lot to work on but we didn’t want to park the bus – we wanted the fans to enjoy it and I felt we gave them a good game here. We could’ve got a result really.”