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23
Wed, Aug

Arsenal 4-3 Leicester - Premier League season starts with classic

Substitute Olivier Giroud headed in a dramatic late winner as Arsenal fought back to beat Leicester City in a thrilling start to the 2017-18 Premier League season.

The Gunners trailed 3-2 with seven minutes to go before Aaron Ramsey and Giroud swung the game back in the home side's favour at a euphoric Emirates Stadium.

Alexandre Lacazette headed the Gunners ahead 94 seconds into his top-flight debut, only for Shinji Okazaki to head in an equaliser just two minutes later.

Vardy then slid the visitors ahead from Marc Albrighton's cross, before Danny Welbeck drew Arsenal level on the stroke of half-time.

Leicester took the lead again when Vardy headed in Riyad Mahrez's corner before Arsene Wenger made an inspired double substitution which sparked Arsenal's comeback.

Substitute Ramsey smashed in an angled drive - from a corner which was won after Mesut Ozil handled in the build-up - before Giroud showed athleticism and strength to meet Granit Xhaka's corner.

The Gunners leave it late

Arsenal started the new Premier League season having won just one of their previous five opening matches - all of which were also home fixtures.

In the build-up to Friday's game Wenger repeatedly stressed the importance of beginning with a positive result against Leicester - and the Gunners appeared to have listened to their manager as they made the dream start.

Lacazette, who arrived for £45.6m from Lyon, was perfectly placed to take advantage of Wes Morgan misjudging Mohamed Elneny's cross, flicking in a low header to become the fastest-scoring debutant in Premier League history.

The joy did not last long, however. Leicester exploited sloppiness by the Gunners to go ahead, leading to murmurings of discontent among the home crowd.

Arsenal's failure to finish in the top four of the Premier League for the first time in 20 years last season, not to mention the criticism Wenger has received from some sections of the Gunners support, meant the Frenchman could ill-afford to begin with a defeat.

And the mood turned inside the Emirates after Vardy's first, subsiding when Welbeck calmly rolled in Saed Kolasinac's cut-back, only to return again when Vardy - who turned down a move to the Gunners last summer - restored the lead.

Wenger looked on anxiously from the dugout, eventually appearing on the touchline when he introduced Ramsey and Giroud after 67 minutes.

Within 20 minutes both players had scored as Arsenal avoided losing their opening fixture for the fourth time in five years.

Credit: The BBC