Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City: Substitutes help Gunners snatch opening thriller

Olivier Giroud headed an 85th minute winner in a topsy-turvy game that saw the lead change four times.

Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City: Substitutes help Gunners snatch opening thriller
Alexandre Lacezette and Danny Welbeck netted in Arsenal's season opener. (Photo: Getty Images / Michael Regan)
Arsenal
4 3
Leicester
Arsenal: Cech; Holding (Ramsey, min. 67), Monreal, Kolasinac; Bellerin, Elneny (Giroud, min. 67), Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Ozil, Lacazette, Welbeck (Walcott, min. 75).
Leicester: Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Maguire, Fuchs; Mahrez, James (Iheanacho, min. 82), Ndidi, Albrighton (Gray, min. 88); Okazaki (Amartey, min. 72), Vardy.
SCORE: 1-0, min. 2, Lacazette. 1-1, min. 5, Okazaki. 1-2, min. 29, Vardy. 2-2, min. 45+2, Welbeck. 2-3, min. 56, Vardy. 3-3, min. 83, Ramsey. 4-3, min. 85, Giroud.
REFEREE: Mike Dean. Booked: Morgan (min 90+4)

Olivier Giroud's header gave Arsenal all three points on the opening day of the Premier League season in a breathtaking clash against Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium.

Alexandre Lacazette headed his first Arsenal goal inside two minutes before goals from Shinji Okazajki and Jamie Vardy put Leicester ahead.

Danny Welbeck levelled on the stroke of half time before Vardy headed his second of the game, but two goals in two minutes from Aaron Ramsey and Giroud stole it for Arsenal.

Team news - Mahrez starts for Leicester

Arsenal's marquee summer signing  Lacazette mate his Premier League debut, as did Saed Kolasinac, which saw Arsenal opt for a 3-4-3 formation that saw Rob Holding, Nacho Monreal and Kolasinac provide the rearguard action with Hector Bellerin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the wing-back roles

Leicester opted for a familiar 4-4-1-1 in which Harry Maguire made his Foxes debut at centre-back, whilst Matty James started a Premier League game for the first time since May 2015.

 Vardy led the line but the major news for Leicester was that want-away winger Riyad Mahrez started on the right.

Lacazette's lightning start

Arsenal made the perfect start to their latest attempt to win a first Premier League trophy in 14 seasons through £58 million signing Lacazette.

Slick build-up play from the Gunners saw the ball switched to Bellerin on the right and he laid off for Mohammed Elneny to cross for the Frenchman to glance a header past Kasper Schmeichel into the bottom corner after just 90 seconds.

 

 

Foxes fight back early on

If the Premier League this season is going to be a case of start as you mean to go on, we're in for a treat.

Marc Albrighton's deep cross found debutant Maguire at the back post, who grabbed himself an assist in by calmly nodding across to Okazaki who headed into an open goal with Petr Cech out of position.

Arsenal had seen almost 75% of the ball in the first 20 minutes and Welbeck had Arsenal's best chance since Lacazette's opener.

However, Maguire was there to block his shot after Mesut Ozil's cutback after more intricate passing around Leicester's box.

Arsenal were piling the pressure on Leicester's back four as the visitors set up to counter, with Schmeichel being called into action to beat away Kolasinac's stinging volley.

 

 

Leicester grab the lead

It's safe to say we all know about Leicester's counter attacking capability and it was a case of new season, same story for the east Midlands club.

Vardy got himself between two of Arsenal's back three inside the box after a loose pass by Granit Xhaka in his own half fell at the feet of Albrighton.

He drove at Arsenal's defence and his sublime whipped cross found the England international who couldn't miss from inside the six-yard box completely against the run of play.

Arsenal were caught in possession on the left once again minutes later and Okazaki almost doubled his tally but headed narrowly wide.

 

 

Welbeck levels before the break

Arsenal had been quiet since Vardy's goal but they were to go in at the break on level terms after a frenetic first half.

Lacazette slipped as he went to turn and shoot and scuffed his shot to Kolasinac, who found himself one on one with Schmeichel.

He had the presence of mind to spare for Welbeck, who tapped into an empty net as offside calls from Leicester defenders were correctly waved away.

Vardy at the double 

After a much-needed break for all involved to take a deep breath, the second half started in much quieter fashion until ten minutes into the second period.

It was Leicester's deadly duo from 2015/16 who combined as Vardy glanced a header into the bottom corner after Mahrez's corner following some more shoddy defending from Arsene Wenger's men.

Bellerin could have added the sixth goal of the game after he found himself one on one with Schmeichel but the Dane was out quick to deny the Spaniard with his legs.

 

 

Duo at the double off the bench for Arsenal

Ramsey and Giroud had been introduced with 23 minutes to go and Ramsey almost scored with his first touch, whilst Theo Walcott and Ozil had already gone close.

But it was the Welshman who was to put away Arsenal's third as he controlled Bellerin's outside-of-the-foot pass effortlessly and poked into the far corner beyond Schmeichel.

But Wenger's men weren't done yet and Ramsey's fellow substitute Giroud's header hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced in just two minutes later, despite being yanked to the floor by a Leicester defender.

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