Arsenal 4-3 Leicester: Super Subs Giroud & Ramsey Secure Incredible Opening Night Win Over Foxes
Arsenal snatched a stunning 4-3 win over Leicester City on Friday night to start the 2017/18 Premier League season with a bang. Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud were the heroes as their late goals gave the Gunners a winning start.
Arsene Wenger's side took an early lead through debutant Alexandre Lacazette but Shinji Okazaki made it 1-1 after just five minutes. Danny Welbeck made it 2-2 on the stroke of half-time with Arsenal trailing to Vardy's first strike - which came shortly after the equaliser.
The 30-year-old scored a rare header shortly after half-time before Arsene Wenger brought on Ramsey and Giroud, within 15 minutes they had given Arsenal a lead when it looked like defeat was on the cards. It was a stunning victory after a topsy-turvy affair which is hopefully a snippet of what else is to come this season.
Wenger lined up with a 3-4-3 formation which saw Sead Kolanisac given his first Premier League start, operating on the left-side of the back three. Leicester boss Craig Shakespeare handed Harry Maguire his debut as the Foxes opted for a 4-4-2, leaving Kelechi Iheanacho on the bench.
The Gunners raced out of the blocks and Lacazette announced himself within 96 seconds, heading home from close range after Mohamed Elneny's cross evaded Wes Morgan. The goal sparked the home crowd into life but they were soon brought back down to earth again.
Want-away winger Riyad Mahrez was a whisker away from an equaliser but Okazaki went one better with just 5 minutes on the clock. Petr Cech was caught out by a deep cross and Maguire done superbly to tee up the Japanese man who nodded into an empty net.
The goal certainly displayed the home side's defensive uncertainties but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain almost restored order, narrowly missing after he broke through. The game naturally steadied but Arsenal began to re-apply the pressure and went close through Welbeck and Kolanisac, before Vardy gave the visitors a shock lead on 29 minutes.
Elneny gave the ball away cheaply in his own half and Marc Albrighton stole in and whipped in a teasing cross which was straight on the boot of the England forward and he lashed home. The goal drew vocal frustrations from the Emirates crowd as an oh-so familiar feeling began to fill the air.
Okazaki almost extended Leicester's lead as he sent a header just wide but Wenger's side were almost awarded a penalty close to half-time. Kolasinac's cross struck the arm of Wilfried Ndidi from just a yard away and Mike Dean waved play on, adding to the home crowd's displeasure.
Two more chances fell Leicester's way but the 2016 champions were pulled back in first-half stoppage time as Welbeck bundled in an equaliser. Lacezette's scuffed effort landed fortunately at the feet of Kolasinac who squared to the former Manchester United man who popped it home with Kasper Schmeichel closing in.
It was a stunning end to the first 45 minutes of Premier League action with Shakespeare's side the much happier of the two. Such happiness was about to be enhanced as Vardy gave Leicester the lead again on 56 minutes, glancing home a header into the far corner.
Mahrez sent over the near-post corner and the former Halifax man beat Monreal to the ball with Cech helpless to stop it. You could almost feel the anguish running through Wenger but his side tried to battle back.
Hector Bellerin almost tied the game at 3-3 but the impressive Schmeichel saved superbly to deny the Spaniard. A neat one-two saw the former Barcelona graduate in but the big Dane smothered his effort.
Wenger was running out of ideas and introduced Ramsey and Giroud in a double switch was about to pay dividends. The Welshman managed to spare Arsenal's blushes at least after he drilled home an equaliser on 85 minutes. A brilliant first touch and finish paved the way for the north Londoners to snatch an unlikely win.
Giroud headed home from a corner via the far post with Schmeichel clawing the ball away from behind the line. Absolute pandemonium erupted in the stands as the goal was given, even after the use of video technology.
With the score at 4-3, Arsenal held on to their lead and ended the game with a seemingly unlikely three points, much to Wenger's and the home sides pleasure.