Leicester haven’t beaten Arsenal in Premier League history and that remains the case today after a thrilling 4-3 win for the Gunners. An extremely entertaining affair saw 7 goals in the first game of the new season and Olivier Giroud was the man with the decisive goal.
THE FIRST HALF: A LIGHTNING START
The Emirates Stadium hosted the first game of the new 2017/18 Premier League season and it certainly got off to a flying start. Within the first 4 minutes, both Arsenal and Leicester had scored thanks to a debut goal from Arsenal’s record signing Alexander Lacazette. After Mohamed Elneny whipped a teasing ball into the box, Arsenal’s no.9 was there to produce a bullet header into the bottom let-hand corner, 1-0 to the Gunners.
Unbelievably, just 160 seconds later, however, the dangerous Shinji Okazaki nodded home an equaliser for the Foxes after ‘keeper Petr Cech misjudged Marc Albrighton’s looping ball into the box, forcing new signing Harry Maguire to attempt to keep the ball in play. He did, and he found Okazaki in the process. Leicester then took the lead in the 28th minute and it was Jamie Vardy, one of the many stars in their title-winning campaign, back at it again after a superb cross in by Marc Albrighton. The exhilarating first-half had more to offer though when Danny Welbeck brought it back to 2-2 for the Gunners on the stroke of half-time. Arsenal dominated the possession, much like they always do in games and their constant pressure paid off, giving them a deserved goal and a route back into the game. The Premier League was well and truly back, what a half of football it was!
THE SECOND HALF: ARSENAL’S QUALITY MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
No changes for either side at the interval and the second half was underway in what would be an equally brilliant half of football. It took only 10 minutes for Leicester to regain the lead with Jamie Vardy once again, this time heading in from a Riyad Mahrez corner delivery. Vardy looked very sharp on the day and caused the Gunner’s defence numerous problems. 62 minutes into the game and Arsenal created another wonderful bit of build-up play, leading to Kasper Schmeichel denying Danny Welbeck a second of the game. Arsene Wenger made a double-change in the 67th minute bringing on Aaron Ramsey and Oliver Giroud which proved to be pivotal. Ramsey, who replaced the more defensive midfielder Mohamed Elneny was the man to equalise for the Gunners deep into the 83rd minute, then super-sub Giroud made it 4-3 just minutes later with the aid of goal-line technology for his 50th goal at the Emirates Stadium. Madness.
With 5 minutes added on for injury time, Leicester were desperate in searching for an equaliser, so desperate that goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel came darting up the pitch trying to start an attack but lost the ball in the process. Luckily, German international Mesut Ozil couldn’t find the empty net. Leicester certainly would feel hard done by to lose the game, considering how poor the Arsenal defence was on the day. The new man Alexander Lacazette will have many Arsenal fans pleased with his debut performance with his goal coming just after 2 minutes, setting them on their way towards 3 points.
Arsenal coming from behind twice in the game does show the character of Wenger’s newly-shaped Arsenal side and they will look to improve on this performance and build for the rest of their campaign.
For the neutral, that will surely be in contention for one of the games of the season and we demand 9 more months of Premier League games just like that!
Main talking points
Both teams’ defence: The 7-goal thriller was incredible, start to finish, mainly down to the poor defence of both Arsenal and Leicester. For the Gunners only to have Rob Holding as a recognised centre-back was purely down to injuries, something out of their control. However, to play Nacho Monreal at centre-back was a mistake that could have easily cost them the game as he was torn apart by the pace of Jamie Vardy.
Moving onto the Foxes defence, and for me their problem is down to the pace of their back-line. Wes Morgan and Harry Maguire are physically tough to get past but over the course of the game, Lacazette found ways to play around them and caused them a lot more problems in the second-half.
Both sides will be pleased of how they both performed going forward but they both need to desperately look to invest in their defences before the transfer window closes.
Possession: Arsenal 70% Leicester 30%
Shots: Arsenal: 27 Leicester: 6
Shots on target: Arsenal: 10 Leicester: 3
Corners: Arsenal: 9 Leicester: 4
Fouls: Arsenal: 9 Leicester: 12
Arsenal line-up (3-4-2-1): Cech 5 , Holding 6 (Giroud 8 ) , Monreal 5, Kolasinac 8 , Oxlade-Chamberlain 8, Xhaka 6 , Elneny 6 (Ramsey 7) , Bellerin 7, Ozil 7 , Welbeck 7 (Walcott 6 ) , Lacazette 8
Leicester line-up (4-4-2): Schmeichel 9, Fuchs 6 , Maguire 6 , Morgan 5 , Simpson 5 , Mahrez 7 , Ndidi 5, James 6 (Iheanacho 6 ), Albrighton 7 (Gray 6 ) , Okazaki 8 (Amartey 6 ) , Vardy 9