Home English Arsenal edge past Leicester in Premier League season opener.
Two goals in the first 10 minutes and two in the last 10 – if that doesn’t rekindle the excitement of Premier League football, not much can. In the opening game of the season, Arsenal may have averted the comeback of ‘out with Wenger’ chants for a bit, but the 4-3 win against Leicester City at the Emirates stadium was by no means decisive.
When Alexandre Lacazette, Arsenal’s new forward, netted the season’s very first goal in the second minute of the game, the tone of the game looked set. But the 31-year-old Shinji Okazaki was quick to even the score within minutes with a timely assist from Leicester’s new signing Harry Maguire. In the following minutes, the hosts tried to tighten their defence and get back on their front foot, keeping Leicester’s goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel on his toes.
The ruthless Jamie Vardy took advantage of Arsenal’s shoddy defending twice – he stunned the Gunners with an emphatic kick in the first half and a delightful header in the second. Schmiechel did a decent job of reining in Arsenal’s forward and managed a couple of terrific saves, but the hosts wore him down towards the end of the game.
Over 80 minutes down and Leicester leading by a goal, it looked as if Arsenal was facing a crushing defeat, but Aaron Ramsey’s 84th minute goal spun the mood of the stadium on its head. Granit Xhaka’s casual pass to Ramsey was masterfully flicked past Schmiechel – two minutes later, the attacker Olivier Giroud, who came in the 67th minute, scored the winning goal, lifting the Gunners to glory.
Arsenal’s victory in this game was more about erasing mistakes than keeping the upper hand. During most of the game, the team’s defence left much to be desired – that Vardy managed get past six defenders to score his second goal is testament to that. What the game was, though, is a reminder that beyond the incessant transfer rumours and long, moody shots of Arsene Wenger staring into nothingness awaits the adrenaline rush that only a good game of football can give.