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Who makes way for Wilshere?

Arsenal
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Time to drop Granit Xhaka?

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 By Tom Adams

Lacazette, Arsenal start fast, rally late for dramatic opening win

Craig Burley says his opinion of Arsenal hasn't changed as the FC crew critique the Gunners' win over Leicester.

Arsenal enjoyed a dramatic 4-3 win over Leicester City to open the new Premier League season, with goals from substitutes Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud in the last seven minutes turning the match on its head.

It was a fast start from Arsenal and debutant Alexandre Lacazette needed only two minutes to open his Premier League account, heading in clinically from a Mohamed Elneny cross.

Arsenal's defensive limitations were exposed as Shinji Okazaki and Jamie Vardy scored with Leicester's first two shots on target, but right on the brink of half-time Danny Welbeck slotted home following an assist from another new signing, Sead Kolasinac.

Vardy's second seemingly set Arsenal on course for a third opening-day defeat in three seasons before substitutes Ramsey and Giroud both scored late in a remarkable conclusion at Emirates Stadium.

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Positives

It is always helpful when an expensive new striker opens their account quickly and Lacazette took only two minutes to do so. Kolasinac also looked bright and contributed an assist. Ultimately, Arsenal showed impressive character to turn the match around and Wenger's changes played a big part in that.

Negatives

Just one game into the season and, as they desperately chased an equaliser, Arsenal found themselves with two left-backs at centre-back and a right-back at left-back. It wasn't exactly evidence of a masterplan. Wenger's decision to implement a back three reinvented Arsenal at the end of last season but it crumbled on the opening day of 2017-18 as Arsenal conceded three soft goals before reverting to a back four. Will the change stick?

Manager rating out of 10

6 -- Wenger's options were restricted by injury but bringing on two subs before the 70-minute mark was a tacit admission that he got his selection wrong. The defence looked badly organised but, to his credit, Wenger changed things up and he will be delighted that two of his substitutes scored to transform the game. He pulled victory from the jaws of defeat.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Petr Cech, 6 -- The keeper made a crucial mistake for Leicester's equaliser on six minutes as he misjudged a cross and left himself stranded when Okazaki headed in. Made amends with an important, if slightly risky, sliding challenge on Vardy in the second half.

DF Rob Holding, 5 -- Injuries gave the youngster a chance to stake a claim in the first game of the season but he had a difficult evening. Holding was messy when in possession and Vardy constantly tormented him. Wenger took Holding off to switch to a back four with 23 minutes remaining.

DF Nacho Monreal, 5 -- Was caught out for the second goal as Vardy drifted in behind him to meet Marc Albrighton's cross, and the Spaniard was lacking again when Vardy exploited holes in Arsenal's zonal marking to head in the third from a corner.

DF Sead Kolasinac, 6 -- The star of the Community Shield win over Chelsea, Kolasinac continued to make a big impression. Stationed in the back three, he attacked enthusiastically and showed good composure to square for Welbeck for the equaliser. Let Vardy free for Leicester's second goal though.

MF Hector Bellerin, 5 -- Didn't contribute enough in attack and when he did get in behind to latch onto a beautiful pass from Welbeck he saw his shot saved by Kasper Schmeichel. Bizarrely saw the game out as the left-back in a 4-2-3-1 as Wenger's plans went awry.

MF Mohamed Elneny, 5 -- It was the Egyptian's excellent first-time cross which Lacazette headed in after two minutes. Elneny, though, played a number of risky passes in the first half and contributed to an uncertain Arsenal performance. Was no surprise when he was hooked.

MF Granit Xhaka, 5 -- Man of the match last weekend against Chelsea, Xhaka had a mostly awful evening. He was out-jumped by Okazaki for Leicester's first goal, lost possession for the second and then let Vardy drift away from him to head in the third. Admittedly, his assist for Ramsey's equaliser was a gorgeous one.

Alexandre Lacazette
Newcomer Alexandre Lacazette wasted no time opening his count, scoring on two minutes.

MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 6 -- Showed his intent on eight minutes when charging forward and lashing a shot just over the bar. Contributed to some of Arsenal's brighter moments and continues to show why it would be advisable to give him a new contract quite soon.

FW Mesut Ozil, 6 -- There were some typically intelligent contributions from the German but lacking fitness he floated in and out of the match. Could have been a bit sharper in the final third.

FW Alexandre Lacazette, 7 -- Made a magnificent early impact with his headed goal after two minutes and, after a period of long inaction, forced a remarkable save from Schmeichel after weaving his way through the visiting defence late on. A promising competitive debut.

FW Danny Welbeck, 6 -- Playing in the Sanchez role, Welbeck saw two promising efforts blocked before getting his goal just before half-time. He drifted centrally at will and played in Bellerin with a sumptuous through ball on 62 minutes, only for the Spaniard to spurn the chance. Worked hard.

Substitutes

MF Aaron Ramsey (for Elneny, 67), 7 -- Took his goal well when he collected a clever pass from Xhaka and found a way past Schmeichel.

FW Olivier Giroud (for Holding, 67), 8 -- Made an imperious impact from the bench as his header gave Arsenal the most dramatic of victories. Sent a message to Wenger after being pushed down the pecking order by Lacazette's arrival.

FW Theo Walcott (for Welbeck, 75), N/A -- Made little impact.

Tom is one of ESPN FC's Arsenal bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter @tomEurosport

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