The 2017/18 Premier League season got underway this evening with Arsenal taking on Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium. It was the perfect start for Arsene Wenger’s side albeit through an unconvincing performance.
The Gunners had taken an early lead through Alexandre Lacazette but the away side quickly hit back with goals from Shinji Okazaki and Jamie Vardy. Danny Welbeck got the home side back on level terms on the stroke of half-time but Vardy got his second of the game in the second-half to put his side back in front.
However, Arsenal continued to pile the pressure on the away side’s defence and goals from Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud completed a dramatic turnaround at the Emirates and secured the three points.
Alexandre Lacazette took no time to make his mark in Premier League
It was a promising start for the 26-year-old striker last weekend in the Community Shield as he impressed against Chelsea but tonight he proved that he could perform in the Premier League. It took him just a matter of minutes to put his side in front against the Foxes as he got his side off to a flying start with a superb header into the bottom corner.
It cost Arsenal around £46.5 million to secure his services from Ligue 1 side Lyon but he already looks to be worth the fee. Considering some of the fees being paid for other players such as the unbelievable fee paid for Neymar by Paris Saint-Germain, the fee for Lacazette already looks like it could be a bargain.
Arsenal look woeful defensively
Wenger opted with the likes of Sead Kolasinac, Rob Holding, Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin in his starting line-up but the Gunners still looked very fragile defensively. They gave Vardy far too much space throughout the match and he helped himself to a relatively straight forward brace. The fact that Arsenal allowed the visitors to equalise almost immediately after taking the lead is also a huge concern for Wenger.
It is difficult to tell whether Arsenal’s defensive frailties have transpired into this season from the last or whether it will just take time for the Gunners to settle into the new season. However, due to the fact that Holding, Monreal and Bellerin were all at the club last season, they should already be used to each other’s game and be defending a lot better than they did in this match.
Gunners now devastating going forward
Despite the fact Arsenal looked very fragile defensively, they did look a lot better going forward than they did last season. The likes of Mesut Ozil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck and Lacazette and performed very well and were a constant threat to the Leicester defence throughout.
It was interesting to see Wenger opt to include Oxlade-Chamberlain in his starting line-up following a host of speculation this summer linking the 23-year-old winger with a move to Premier League rivals such as Chelsea and Manchester City. If he continues to perform like he did tonight, he could be a vital player for Arsenal this season.
Jamie Vardy can still produce at this level
The 30-year-old striker played a key role in Leicester’s Premier League winning season in the 2015/16 campaign as he scored 24 goals in 36 league appearances. However, due to the fact he only managed to score 13 goals in 35 appearances last time out, many wrote him off as not being the player he once was.
Despite the criticism he received from many pundits last season, he proved tonight that he still has the ability to score goals at the highest level. His devastating pace caused Arsenal’s defence problems throughout the entire match and when the chances came his way, he had the quality to find the back of the net.
Olivier Giroud can still have a huge impact off the bench
The 30-year-old striker had a huge impact off the bench for Arsenal last season with a number of vital goals and he had the same impact again for the Gunners in tonight’s game. He came on with just over 20 minutes to go and scored the winning goal with five minutes to go as his bullet header found the back of the net.
The French forward may well find himself on the bench more often than not this season following the addition of Lacazette. However, he can do nothing more than scoring as many goals as he possibly can to try and force himself into Wenger’s plans.