Arsenal secured a hard-fought win over Cardiff on an emotional night at Emirates Stadium as the Bluebirds played for the first time since the disappearance of striker Emiliano Sala.
Despite the defeat, Cardiff boss Neil Warnock praised his side’s performance as their “best of the season”.
“We talked about Emiliano before the game and I thought it was appropriate that we gave a good account of ourselves against a good side – we could’ve quite easily won the game,” said Warnock.
“What a performance. If Arsenal had our chances they would’ve beaten us by four. We had some great chances and with the effort we put in we should’ve got at least a point.”
Argentine forward Sala, 28, and pilot David Ibbotson were on board a light aircraft that disappeared from radar over the Channel Islands while travelling from Nantes following Sala’s club-record £15m move to Cardiff.
Tributes were paid to Sala before the game from both sets of players, club officials and supporters.
Neither side had a shot on target in the first half, but Arsenal went ahead through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 66th-minute spot kick after Bruno Ecuele Manga clumsily brought down Sead Kolasinac.
Alexandre Lacazette doubled Arsenal’s lead with a fine low strike into the bottom corner, although substitute Nathaniel Mendez-Laing pulled one back for Cardiff in added time when he curled a shot past Bernd Leno.
However, it was not enough for Cardiff and the Gunners’ win takes them to 47 points, the same as fourth-placed Chelsea.