Lacazette, Arsenal start fast, rally late for dramatic opening win

Lacazette, Arsenal start fast, rally late for dramatic opening win
From ESPN - August 11, 2017

Arsenal enjoyed a dramatic 4-3 win over Leicester City to open the new Premier League season, with goals from substitutes Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud in the last seven minutes turning the match on its head.

It was a fast start from Arsenal and debutant Alexandre Lacazette needed only two minutes to open his Premier League account, heading in clinically from a Mohamed Elneny cross.

Arsenal's defensive limitations were exposed as Shinji Okazaki and Jamie Vardy scored with Leicester's first two shots on target, but right on the brink of half-time Danny Welbeck slotted home following an assist from another new signing, Sead Kolasinac.

Vardy's second seemingly set Arsenal on course for a third opening-day defeat in three seasons before substitutes Ramsey and Giroud both scored late in a remarkable conclusion at Emirates Stadium.


It is always helpful when an expensive new striker opens their account quickly and Lacazette took only two minutes to do so. Kolasinac also looked bright and contributed an assist. Ultimately, Arsenal showed impressive character to turn the match around and Wenger's changes played a big part in that.


Just one game into the season and, as they desperately chased an equaliser, Arsenal found themselves with two left-backs at centre-back and a right-back at left-back. It was not exactly evidence of a masterplan. Wenger's decision to implement a back three reinvented Arsenal at the end of last season but it crumbled on the opening day of 2017-18 as Arsenal conceded three soft goals before reverting to a back four. Will the change stick?

Manager rating out of 10

6 -- Wenger's options were restricted by injury but bringing on two subs before the 70-minute mark was a tacit admission that he got his selection wrong. The defence looked badly organised but, to his credit, Wenger changed things up and he will be delighted that two of his substitutes scored to transform the game. He pulled victory from the jaws of defeat.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Petr Cech, 6 -- The keeper made a crucial mistake for Leicester's equaliser on six minutes as he misjudged a cross and left himself stranded when Okazaki headed in. Made amends with an important, if slightly risky, sliding challenge on Vardy in the second half.

DF Rob Holding, 5 -- Injuries gave the youngster a chance to stake a claim in the first game of the season but he had a difficult evening. Holding was messy when in possession and Vardy constantly tormented him. Wenger took Holding off to switch to a back four with 23 minutes remaining.

DF Nacho Monreal, 5 -- Was caught out for the second goal as Vardy drifted in behind him to meet Marc Albrighton's cross, and the Spaniard was lacking again when Vardy exploited holes in Arsenal's zonal marking to head in the third from a corner.


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