Jamie Vardy’s brace appeared to have Leicester on course for victory at Arsenal but Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud stole the points.
Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud came off the bench snatch victory from the jaws of defeat for Arsenal, who opened the 2017-18 Premier League season with a topsy-turvy 4-3 thriller against Leicester City.
Record signing Alexandre Lacazette handed the ideal start to boss Arsene Wenger, back at Emirates Stadium for the first time since signing his much-debated two-year contract extension, by opening the scoring after 94 seconds, but matters quickly threatened to unravel.
Wenger’s gamble to field a back three featuring one recognised centre-back collapsed in a display of complete defensive incompetence. Shinji Okazaki was the initial beneficiary with a fifth-minute equaliser.
England striker Jamie Vardy, who was heavily linked with Arsenal 12 months ago, scored a brace either side of a Danny Welbeck leveller that showed Arsenal’s rearguard to be equally dreadful from open play and set-piece situations.
But it was a different story at the other end as Wenger called upon additional firepower in the form of Aaron Ramsey and Giroud to turn the match around inside the final seven minutes and ward off a return to last season’s febrile atmosphere of protest on home turf – at least for the time being.
Arsenal’s sustained excellent attacking play made their defensive frailties all the more galling. Welbeck bewitched the Leicester backline to delicately play in Hector Bellerin, who was brilliantly denied by Schmeichel.
Fuchs did enough to distract Ramsey when the Wales international powered wide from Lacazette’s cross and tensions from the stands seemed to have spilled on to the pitch when Ozil lashed into the side netting with 16 minutes remaining.
It was left to Ramsey to drag the masses back in Arsenal’s favour.
Handball claims against Ozil went unpunished before an 83rd-minute corner that was worked out to Xhaka, whose raking ball found Ramsey stealing around Wilfred Ndidi for a clinical finish.
Schmeichel then suffered the same cruel fortune as Cech before him – saving superbly after Lacazette zig-zagged through a defence that allowed Giroud to head in the corner via the crossbar for the FA Cup and Community Shield holders.