Arsenal produced a stunning late comeback to beat Leicester 4-3 as the Premier League returned in thrilling fashion on Friday night.
Arsene Wenger’s men were 3-2 down with seven minutes remaining but goals from substitutes Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud stole the game from under Leicester’s noses.
Big-money signing Alexandre Lacazette took just two minutes to score on his debut but he was outshone by the visitor’s No 9 as Jamie Vardy scored twice against the team that came close to signing him last summer.
In what was a pulsating start to the new season, which was kicking off for the first time on a Friday, Leicester equalised within three minutes of Lacazette’s opener through Shinji Okazaki and then took a shock lead through Vardy.
Arsenal responded just before the break through Danny Welbeck but Vardy headed home from a Riyad Mahrez corner on 59 minutes. As the home fans started to become restless, Arsenal staged a late fightback with Ramsey and Giroud both finding the net from close range within two minutes of each other to send the roof off the Emirates.
Those that have been craving Premier League football over the summer were given a sweet release inside the opening five minutes with two goals – one at either end.
You could feel the tension in the stands rising with every passing minute of sloppy Arsenal play. A goal was required and Welbeck stepped up just before the break to ease the restlessness in the stands.
Mesut Ozil showed a fleet-of-foot on the edge of the box and the play developed inside the box before the German squared a fantastic ball to Welbeck – which took Kasper Schmeichel out of the game. The Arsenal striker couldn’t miss.
The equaliser would presumably set the platform for Arsenal to step on the gas in the second period, but it was the visitors who pressed on. Petr Cech had to be quick off his line to stop a surging Riyad Mahrez run before flying to his left to push a long range effort wide from the same player.
Cech could do nothing to stop Vardy on 59 minutes – although his defence should have.
Mahrez slung over a near post corner which found Vardy in three yards of space. Nacho Monreal looked at Holding while Xhaka looked at Monreal. This left Vardy with the simple task of flicking home from eight yards out.
Arsenal looked nervous in their bid to equalise, prompting Wenger to call from Ramsey and Giroud from the bench – and they repaid their manager’s faith.
After a spell of pressure inside the Leicester box, Ramsey controlled at the far post and drilled the ball beyond Schmeichel with seven minutes left.
Arsenal now smelt blood and went for the kill.
From a right-wing corner Giroud rose highest to head the ball over the line, via the crossbar, with goal-line technology confirming the goal.
It sent the Emirates into delirium.
If you didn’t know already, the Premier League is back.