ARSENAL kicked off their Premier League campaign with a dramatic win against former champions Leicester – but it was far from convincing.
The Gunners, with Arsene Wenger still in the hot seat, are my pre-season tip to win the title that has eluded them for so long.
When new boy Alexandre Lacazette opened his league account within minutes of his league debut, I had a smug look on my face. This is going to be a walk-over. Wrong!
Leicester are nothing if not fighters and two-goal Jamie Vardy ran a revamped Arsenal defence ragged.
Okay, Arsenal were missing some key defenders – notably, Per Mertesacker – but those defensive frailties came back to haunt them Especially from set plays.
Wenger was happy to open their account with three points but admitted there are a number of things, mainly at the back, that he needs to address.
But despite conceding three goals at home, there were still plenty of positives to put a smile on Arsene’s face.
Like record signing Lacazette’s debut goal in front of supporters who will grow to love him like they did Wrighty, Henry, Bergkamp and – more recently – Giroud.
Wenger said he ‘left the door open’ for Olivier to leave in the summer but the ever-reliable centre forward decided to stay and fight, despite the increased competition.
He came off the bench to a great ovation, scored the winner and received a bigger one – and continues to give Wenger a headache.
Personally, and because I haven’t seen enough of Lacazette as yet, but I think Giroud is precious asset. With his aerial presence he offers something different.
The intricate passing play we associate with Arsenal was all there, and goals from Danny Welbeck and sub Aaron Ramsey bode well. And they’ve still got Alexis Sanchez to come back from injury.
But, on behalf of all Arsenal fans, I have to say – sort your defence out, Arsene.
Wenger said in his post-match interview: “We know defensively we can do better but overall we produced a top-quality game.”
Quoted on the BBC Sport website – http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/40822513 – he added: “When the substitutes came on they had enough quality to make the difference.