Arsenal kicked-off the Premier League season with a remarkable comeback victory over Leicester City, capped by Olivier Giroud’s 85th minute winner.
Alexandre Lacazette marked his debut with the opening goal after just two minutes but familiar failings allowed Leicester to take the lead through Shinji Okazaki and Jamie Vardy.
Danny Welbeck drew his side level on the stroke of half time but Vardy was left unmarked from a corner to head the visitors back in front 10 minutes after the restart.
Arsene Wenger’s side appeared to be heading for a third straight opening day defeat in a row but late goals from substitutes Aaron Ramsey and Giroud ensured an astonishing late win.
STAR MAN – Olivier Giroud
It has taken 99 goals, but perhaps finally Giroud has convinced Arsenal fans of his worth.
His position in the Wenger’s side has been threatened by numerous forwards who have come and gone and he must have been fearing the worst when Lacazette marked his debut with an instant impact.
With Arsenal in a familiar opening day position, behind and being torn to shreds on the break, the 30-year-old was summoned to perform another act of escapology.
A brilliant touch nearly provided Lacazette with the winner but from the ensuing corner a truly monstrous header sparked wild scenes of celebration, born out of relief as much as anything.
FAILED TO IMPRESS – Mesut Ozil
As woeful as Arsenal were in defence, equally their lack of efficiency in front of goal prevented them from recording what might have been a straightforward win.
Ozil’s selection was not totally unexpected given he returned to training on Thursday, but he looked a long way from full fitness and failed to provide the energy and industry that Alex Iwobi had troubled Chelsea with at Wembley last Sunday.
In front of goal he had two opportunities to draw Arsenal level in the second half but on both occasions he failed to trouble Kasper Schmeichel, dragging one effort hopelessly into the side-netting.
For every sub-par performance Ozil turns in questions as to whether he deserves a bumper pay rise will arise.
BIGGEST ERROR – Okazaki’s equaliser
It took Leicester just 160 seconds to puncture the the mood of optimism triggered by Lacazette’s debut goal and it was a consequence of amateurish defending.
Ozil had already ducked out of a challenge which led to the visitors earning a corner from which they were allowed to walk their way into a two-on-one situation.
Marc Albrighton’s cross was hardly whipped in with pace, but his looping centre was enough to deceive Petr Cech, who was caught in no man’s land and unable to recover in time to prevent Okazaki nodding home from close range.
It represented an appalling lack of collective concentration and set the tone for a chaotic performance.
WHAT DIDN’T SURPRISE US? – Arsenal’s shocking defending
Craig Shakespeare struggled to literally not lick his lips when asked if he thought Arsenal’s defensive line-up offered his side hope of pulling off an upset in the pre-match build-up.
Even the boost of an early goal failed to settle the nerves of a makeshift rearguard that lacked a recognised senior centre-half, any form of leadership and authority.
Rob Holding emerged as a fine prospect last season, championed as a prime example of Wenger’s bargain hunting prowess but this was a flashback to his nervous, error-strewn debut alongside fellow youngster Calum Chambers when Arsenal shipped four on the opening day of last season against Liverpool.
Thomas Lemar is undoubtedly a fantastic attacking talent, but Wenger would be far better served utilising what remains of his summer transfer budget by entering the race to sign Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk.