LONDON – Arsenal fell behind twice on Friday against a tenacious Leicester City before winning 4-3 thanks to a late goal by Olivier Giroud in the opening match of the 2017-2018 Premier League season.
After crowning a good preseason with a win over London rival Chelsea in last week’s Community Shield, the Gunners should have been confident going into Friday’s contest at the Emirates.
But Arsenal entered the match with a dismal record of one win, three losses and three draws in its last seven season openers.
The club’s star signing of the summer, Alexandre Lacazette, put his new team ahead 1-0 before the two-minute mark, heading-in a cross from Mohamed Elneny.
The hosts’ joy was short-lived, however, as Shinji Okazaki equalized for the Foxes within minutes.
In the 29th minute, Jamie Vardy gave the visitors a 2-1 advantage, scoring from close range after a superb ball into the area by Marc Albrighton, who exploited a blunder by Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka.
The Gunners pulled level with a goal in first-half stoppage time by Danny Welbeck, who had hardly been a factor to that point.
Arsenal continued to dominate possession in the second half, only to concede another goal in the 55th minute, when Vardy redirected a Riyad Mahrez corner kick past home goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Trailing 3-2, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger substituted Giroud and Aaron Ramsey for Elneny and Rob Holding, respectively, while Leicester City’s Craig Shakespeare pulled Okazaki in favor of defensive midfielder Daniel Amartey.
In the end, it was Wenger’s moves that paid off.
Ramsey erased the one-goal deficit for the Gunners with a strike in the 82nd minute.
Lacazette nearly had his second of the night just minutes later, but Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel turned the shot aside. However, Giroud beat the Dane with an exquisite header on the ensuing corner to give Arsenal the 4-3 victory.