Arsenal’s new season picked up right where the old one left off, with the kind of non-stop action that only the Gunners can put their fans through on a regular basis.
If Arsene Wenger can find a way to play the pair off each other this season, then Arsenal may have a legitimate title challenge on their hands.
But first, Wenger needs to sort out the defence. Results have improved for Arsenal since the switch to three at the back last season, but it wasn’t until the Gunners swapped to a flat back four that they took control tonight.
Arsenal fans will be desperately hoping that Shkodran Mustafi is fit next week and that Laurent Koscielny can hit the ground running when he returns from suspension the week after, as tonight’s defence was shoddy at best.
In their defence, they were not helped by the fact that nearly everyone was played out of postion.
Rob Holding was the only true centre back in the team tonight and it showed, as Leicester tore shreds through the home side’s makeshift defence and dominated at set pieces.
Despite his heroics at the end of last season, Holding looked poor tonight and suffered the kinds of lapses of concentration you would expect from someone his age. He was eventually sacrificed for Giroud, and things only got more bizarre from there.
With Holding departed, Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal – two left backs – were the two centre backs. Hector Bellerin – a right back – switched to the left of the formation while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – a winger who began the game at left wingback – became the new right back.
It was a bizarre hodge-podge of a formation that was allowed to work as Leicester barely had a chance to attack, such was the Gunners’ late dominace.
Aaron Ramsey was the key man in those closing stages, as he looked the most dangerous and his endeavour was rewarded with stunning equaliser.
Granit Xhaka – who, to be honest, was poor until that point – sent a delightful ball over the top to his Welsh teammate, and Ramsey smashed it past Schmeichel.
And Giroud’s contribution was not to be ignored either, as the Frenchman showed once more that he is the perfect super sub.
After the game, Wenger confirmed Giroud will stay at the club and although he may not start, they are a stronger team with him available.
In the end, it was a breathless start to the new season and reminded us all exactly why we have been looking forward to the opening day so much.
There are many problems for Wenger to contemplate back in Colney this week, but for now Gooners can sleep well knowing this simple fact: Arsenal are top of the league.
Who was your man of the match? Let us know in the comments below.