Olivier Giroud was on hand on the opening day of the English Premier League to save Arsenal the agony of losing at home, when he came in as a sub to give the Gunners a 4-3 winning edge over Leicester.
New signing, Alexandre Lacazette in the second minute, opened the scoring with a header for Arsenal in the thrilling match at the Emirates.
Shinji Okazaki, three minutes after equalised for Leicester, with Jamie Vardy putting Leicester ahead in the 29th minute,
Just before the break, after a shot by Lacazette was blocked, defender Sead Kolasinac directed a ball squarely into the Leicester box for Danny Welbeck to tap in.
The hosts and the visitors were all square at half time at 2-2.
On resumption, Vardy restored the Foxes’ lead just after 11 minutes of play. But undaunted Arsenal called in the reserves. First came in Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud in the 67th minute. They replaced Mohammed Elneny, who had assisted Lacazette to head in the first goal and Rob Holding. In the 75th minutes, also came in Theo Walcott to replace Danny Welbeck.
The Arsenal subs proved super subs as they inflicted defeat on Leicester. Ramsey scored in the 83rd minute,to restore parity at 3-3, followed by Olivier Giroud, who headed in the winning goal in the 85th minute, raising the roof at the Emirates. Final score: Arsenal 4, Leicester 3.
It was a game that Arsenal ought to have won, having dominated proceedings all through the 90 minutes and the added time. Arsenal had more shots on target, 10-4 and more corner kicks, 9-4 and 70-30 of possession.
Here are the sound bites of the day, first from Arsenal hero, Giroud:
“Obviously I knew that I was going to have a chance so we tried to push. We kept the faith and kept believing in our game to push hard. We’ve been courageous to the end and thank God we won the game”.
Petr Cech, Arsenal Captain said: “I think we made technical mistakes for the second goal, it can always happen – it’s part of football. Jamie Vardy was there at the right time. It’s disappointing with the corner as we should have been organised. Overall we showed great character in the first game of the season – we played a classic”.
Manager, Arsene Wenger, who was obviously excited by his team’s amazing comeback, said:
“Our character is the best ingredient in our game tonight. Going forward we were great. When you concede three at home you think you can’t afford that but we had 27 attempts… It’s impossible (to keep all strikers happy). Overall we have many games and hopefully I can give a good number of games to all of my strikers”.
Jamie Vardy, Leicester striker, who banged in a brace, consoled his team: “You can’t fault the performance, but it’s a couple of lapses of concentration. We put in a good account of ourselves. We had quite a few chances and another day they’ll go in. We can take a lot of positives from it”. (NAN)