Second-half strikes from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette helped us secure a 2-1 win over Cardiff City at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night - but what did we learn from our Premier League outing?
IWOBI THE GAMECHANGER
Alex Iwobi changed the game on Tuesday night. For all our attacking flair on paper, we struggled to force back a Cardiff side that got increasingly buoyant as the first half unfolded. But on came Iwobi at the break as Unai Emery sacrificed a defensive midfielder for attacking drive - and it paid dividends. Iwobi has a happy knack of perfectly-timed passes inside opposition full backs - his pre-assist at Bournemouth springs to mind - and he was at it again here with a slide-rule pass into Sead Kolasinac’s path. His momentum and a mistimed challenge won the penalty, and Auba did the rest. But the catalyst was Iwobi. His ability to drive at defenders gave Cardiff a big problem, and his understanding with Kolasinac just gets better and better.
THE LATE SHOW
The stats always suggested we might have to wait a while for our goals against Cardiff. Six of our previous eight Premier League goals against the Welsh side had come in the second half, and that now stands at eight out of 10. It’s hard to remember a clear-cut chance in the first half, although if Lacazette had connected properly with a loose ball in the box then it might have been a different story. The home fans were made to wait but Aubameyang and Lacazette delivered again, and they now have five goals apiece against promoted sides this season. No other Premier League striker can match that.
Carl Jenkinson has never made any secret of his love for this club. “I am a Gooner and I always will be” was his message to the fans after our FA Cup win at Blackpool earlier this month. On Tuesday night, Jenko made his first Premier League appearance for us since November 19, 2016 - some 801 days ago - when he came on for Stephan Lichtsteiner. The ovation he received would have warmed his heart, and he responded with a typically wholehearted display. With Hector Bellerin out for a while, Jenko might get a few more opportunities - and the fans are definitely on his side.
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