Giroud rescues Arsenal to seal 4-3 opening win vs Leicester
Olivier Giroud completed an exhilarating comeback as Arsenal beat Leicester 4-3 yesterday to ensure Arsene Wenger's side opened the English Premier League with a victory for only the second time in eight seasons.
Arsenal turned around the league's first Friday opener in the closing minutes at Emirates Stadium. After Aaron Ramsey levelled in the 83rd minute, Giroud sealed the three points with a header inside two minutes on an evening of thrilling attacks gifted by fragile defending.
Arsenal record-signing Alexandre Lacazette launched his Premier League career in style by heading in the opener after 94 seconds.
A predictable Arsenal implosion followed, with Shinji Okazaki and Jamie Vardy putting Leicester in front. Even after Danny Welbeck levelled on the stroke of half-time, Vardy restored Leicester's lead after the break.
But Leicester, which so astonishingly won the league in 2016, couldn't hold on for its first win at Arsenal since 1973. Instead, Wenger avoided a third consecutive season-opening loss at the start of his new two-year contract.
The Frenchman will be hoping it's a sign of changing fortunes after a season when he reached his nadir. Although Arsenal signed off in May by lifting the FA Cup, a fifth-place finish ensured the north London club failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in two decades.
This was the perfect lift-off for Arsenal, particularly for Lacazette.
The first touch from the €60 million ($68 million) signing was at kick-off. His second was to meet Mohamed Elneny's cross with a powerful header past goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.
Lacazette, recruited from Lyon, savoured the moment, opening his arms out wide to take in the acclamation of his new home.
Arsenal's defence, though, was still on its summer break.