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Full-time: Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City

  • 2017-18 Premier League season starts with a bang as Gunners emerge victorious from Friday night thriller at the Emirates Stadium
  • Alexandre Lacazette heads home Mohamed Elneny's cross 94 seconds into his competitive debut for Arsenal
  • Shinji Okazaki nods in equaliser less than three minutes later after good work from Harry Maguire at the back post
  • Jamie Vardy converts Marc Albrighton's inch-perfect delivery to give Leicester the lead against the run of play
  • Sead Kolasinac tees up Danny Welbeck for a simple finish on the stroke of half-time
  • An unmarked Vardy heads Riyad Mahrez's near-post corner beyond Petr Cech 10 minutes after the interval
  • Aaron Ramsey takes Granit Xhaka's clever pass in his stride before blasting home late leveller after Ozil handball is missed by referee Mike Dean
  • Fellow substitute Olivier Giroud holds off Maguire and Wes Morgan to head in winner from a corner
  • Season previews: Arsenal, Leicester
  • IBTimes UK writers reveal season predictions ahead of Premier League 2017-18 kick-off

That is all for this particular live blog... I'm off for a well-deserved lie-down. Thanks for joining me.

IBTimes UK will be back tomorrow to bring you further live coverage of the opening weekend of the season. Watford vs Liverpool and Chelsea vs Burnley are both on the agenda for Saturday afternoon.

Until then, goodnight.

And breathe...

What an absolutely thrilling opening to the 2017-18 Premier League season. Plenty were questioning Wenger's tactical decisions tonight, but in the end his double substitution works wonders as Ramsey and Giroud both come up trumps.

Leicester more than played their part in an epic occasion and will no doubt feel aggrieved that Ozil was not whistled for handball in the build-up to the third Arsenal goal. A tremendous display from Vardy, who does not deserve to be on the losing side.


Arsenal 4-3 Leicester

Ramsey attempts to add further gloss to the scoreline but sends his latest shot wide. That will do it.

A late yellow card for Morgan is the first of the match for either side.

Five minutes of added time signalled by the fourth official. Is there another twist to come in this extraordinary tale?

Schmeichel is caught a fair distance outside of his area after a quick throw and Xhaka's long-range attempt arrows wide of an open goal.

Dean had already blown for a Leicester free-kick, so it would not have counted anyway.

Shakespeare introduces Demarai Gray with his final sub. Albrighton goes off.

Simply bonkers stuff at the Emirates.

After the impressive Lacazette shows sumptuous quick feet and forces a great reaction stop from Schmeichel, Giroud uses brute strength to hold off Maguire and Morgan and head in his 99th Arsenal goal from a corner.

Goal-line technology confirms it. The home fans erupt in jubilation.

Olivier Giroud

Goal: Arsenal 4-3 Leicester (Olivier Giroud)

Leicester get sucked in from a corner and Xhaka finds Ramsey with a clever lofted pass off the outside of his boot.

The Welsh midfielder takes a brilliant first touch before powering an effort past Schmeichel.

Was there a clear handball from Ozil in the build-up to that goal?

Aaron Ramsey

Goal: Arsenal 3-3 Leicester (Aaron Ramsey)

Leicester are battening down the hatches as we enter the final 10 minutes of the match. Vardy looks to go it alone on the break but is eventually crowded out.

Iheanacho makes his competitive debut as a late replacement for James.

Groans around the Emirates to greet a sliced drive from Oxlade-Chamberlain that flies well wide.

Lacazette and Xhaka did well to create an opportunity.

Wenger looks to his bench for the final time tonight. Theo Walcott replaces compatriot Welbeck.

Arsenal pressing hard for the equaliser now as Oxlade-Chamberlain's deflected low shot whizzes past the far post and Ozil drills an effort into the side netting.

15 minutes left for Leicester to hold on.

Looking to shore up his midfield, Shakespeare sends on Daniel Amartey in place of Okazaki.

Arsenal now appear to be operating with a flat back four that has two full-backs in Monreal and Kolasinac anchoring the middle. Bellerin and Oxlade-Chamberlain are playing as more conventional full-backs.

Some interesting tactical decisions from Wenger this evening to say the least.

Ozil scuffs a shot into Maguire after being found by Lacazette. That particular effort looked to be going wide anyway.

Lacazette again looks to make a nuisance of himself down that left-hand channel. He pulls the ball back for Xhaka and the Swiss international drives a difficult volley into the ground.

Easy work for Schmeichel.

Almost an immediate contribution from Ramsey, who nods wide under serious pressure from Fuchs.

It was a good cross from Lacazette, who now appears to be playing on the left-hand side with Giroud through the middle.

Wenger decides on a double change in an attempt to rescue the situation. Elneny makes way from Ramsey and Olivier Giroud replaces Holding.

More slick attacking football from Arsenal. Welbeck releases Bellerin, but the Spaniard is denied by a confident save from Schmeichel.


Welbeck sets up Oxlade-Chamberlain for a fierce shot that is parried by Schmeichel into the path of Lacazette. The offside flag is raised against the Frenchman.

More negligent defending from Arsenal allows Vardy to ghost in unmarked and head Mahrez's accurate near-post corner past Cech.

Monreal furiously chastises his defensive colleagues. Are Arsenal heading for another high-scoring home defeat on the opening day?

Harry Maguire and Jamie Vardy

Goal: Arsenal 2-3 Leicester (Jamie Vardy)

Mahrez tries his luck with a powerful effort that is helped on its way over by a strong hand from Cech.

Mahrez gets to the byline before producing a dreadful cross that gives Vardy absolutely no chance.

Oxlade-Chamberlain and Xhaka are similarly wasteful at the other end and a more focused Mahrez unleashes a sublime long pass to release Vardy on the counter-attack.

Sensing the danger immediately, Cech, looking none of his 35 years, sprints out to make a crucial sliding challenge 30 yards from goal.

The first shot of the second 45 is a long-range sighter from Ozil that the German drags well wide of the post.

Arsenal enjoying a lot of possession here as you might expect, probing patiently in search of another opening.

After Vardy and Okazaki complain to referee Dean about the amount of additional time played at the end of that first half, Lacazette gets the second period off and running.

As opening halves go, that was certainly pretty eventful. Four goals and some absolutely wretched defending has this clash level at the interval.

Shakespeare will be ruing the fact that his side could not hold on to that unlikely lead for a few more seconds.


Arsenal 2-2 Leicester

Right on the stroke of half-time, Arsenal restore parity. Lacazette's shot deflects into the path of Kolasinac, who finds Welbeck for a simple side-footed finish.

Leicester's defenders all stood frozen like statues with their arms in the air waiting for an offside flag that never came.

Danny Welbeck and Sead Kolasinac

Goal: Arsenal 2-2 Leicester (Danny Welbeck)

Two minutes of stoppage time signalled at the end of this first half.

Mahrez's trickery wins Leicester a corner inside the last minute of normal time and Nacho Monreal heads clear.

Cech just about prevents a looping long throw-in from crossing the line, but Dean blows the whistle for a foul by Okazaki.

Kolasinac appeals strongly for a penalty after driving a cross into the arm of Wilfred Ndidi.

Dean is unmoved. That could easily have been given.

Arsenal's three-man defence looks extremely vulnerable as Fuchs finds space and provides a decent delivery that Okazaki heads just wide.

Well, well, well!

After taking firm control of proceedings and pouring forward in search of a second goal, Arsenal suddenly find themselves behind.

Elneny concedes possession sloppily in his own half and Vardy, in between two of Arsenal's three centre-backs, applies the finishing touch to a superbly accurate left-wing cross from Albrighton.

Fabulous drama.

Jamie Vardy

Goal: Arsenal 1-2 Leicester (Jamie Vardy)

Kolasinac, who does not need a second invitation to bomb forward, tests Schmeichel with a half-volley that deflects off the arm of Morgan before being diverted wide.

Not long before that Welbeck weaved his way to the byline but was just unable to tee up Ozil for a simple close-range finish.

Arsenal pushing hard for a second goal as we tick towards the half-hour mark.

A wonderfully incisive move from Arsenal ends with Welbeck exchanging quick passes with Ozil and firing a shot into Maguire.

The hosts are starting to dominate now after losing their way following Okazaki's header.

Maguire receives a stern word from Dean after bringing down Lacazette, who had looked to set Oxlade-Chamberlain free after receiving possession from Xhaka.

That looked like his last warning. The former Hull defender can expect his next infringement to be greeted by a caution.

Ozil looks to break clear one-on-one but is stopped in his tracks by the offside flag.


Bellerin wins a corner off Christian Fuchs but Rob Holding is unable to get his head on Xhaka's delivery.

No shortage of action at the Emirates as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, playing in that left wing-back role, embarks on a purposeful run and lashes an effort narrowly over the crossbar.

Three minutes after Lacazette's dream start and Leicester are deservedly level.

After a short corner, Maguire does brilliantly to keep Marc Albrighton's deep cross from going out of play beyond the back post. With Cech all at sea, Okazaki gets up above Granit Xhaka to nod in the equaliser.

As you were then. A truly breathless opening to the new season.

Shinji Okazaki

Goal: Arsenal 1-1 Leicester (Shinji Okazaki)

Leicester almost hit back immediately as Mahrez goes close with a volley.

What a start to Lacazette's Premier League career with Arsenal.

Finding space between Morgan and Danny Simpson, the prolific striker heads Mohamed Elneny's cross beyond Kasper Schmeichel after good control from Hector Bellerin following a switch in play.

Alexandre Lacazette

Goal: Arsenal 1-0 Leicester (Alexandre Lacazette)

Mike Dean blows his whistle and the 2017-18 Premier League season is underway.

Can Arsenal make a positive start to Wenger's record 22nd season at the helm, or will Leicester regain their momentum from the back end of last season that saw them finish just one point outside the top 10?

Let's find out.


Let's see how long that lasts...

After finally confirming the popular Shakespeare as Ranieri's long-term successor on a three-year contract, Leicester travelled to Hong Kong for the Premier League Asia Trophy and beat West Brom on penalties before losing the final to Liverpool.

On returning to the United Kingdom, they saw off lower league opposition in Luton and MK Dons before going down to two Championship opponents in Wolves and Burton.

They rounded off preparations for the new campaign by defeating Borussia Monchengladbach 2-1 thanks to a brace from Vardy.

So how did these two sides fare during pre-season?

Arsenal, after finally ending the damaging speculation regarding Wenger's future that cast such a shadow over their 2016-17 campaign, recorded back-to-back victories over Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers in Australia.

They then headed to the Far East, where they beat Bayern Munich on penalties before suffering a sobering defeat to Chelsea in Beijing.

The hosts retained the Emirates Cup despite following a 5-2 thrashing of Benfica with a narrow loss to Sevilla and got revenge over Antonio Conte's men at Wembley.

Getty Images

Jamie Vardy, who memorably turned down a move to Arsenal in the summer of 2016, has scored all of Leicester's last three Premier League goals against the Gunners.

He will be hopeful of continuing that record tonight as he leads the line.


Iheanacho and Slimani are only on the bench for Leicester, while the formerly injury-stricken Matty James makes his first Premier League start since May 2015.

Maguire does indeed partner Morgan and, unlike many of the other players linked with transfers in the remaining weeks of the window, Riyad Mahrez takes his place on the wing amid reported interest from the likes of AS Roma and tonight's opponents Arsenal.

He made it very clear earlier this summer that he believes his future likes away from the East Midlands.

Ozil is deemed fit enough to start for the hosts, who name Mustafi, Coquelin and Ramsey as substitutes. Mertesacker does not make the matchday squad, meaning that Petr Cech dons the captain's armband.

Kolasinac and Lacazette start as expected, although there is no sign of Wilshere.


Official lineups are imminent. Stay tuned...


Leicester are without influential midfielder Danny Drinkwater, who is nursing a thigh strain as he continues to be linked with a potential move to Chelsea.

Vicente Iborra, a £10.5m summer addition from Sevilla, sustained a groin strain in training earlier this week and Shakespeare is currently awaiting the results of a scan to determine how long he will be without the Spaniard.

Kelechi Iheanacho
Getty Images

New £25m striker Kelechi Iheanacho has now recovered from a toe injury, although it remains to be seen if he can complete a full 90 minutes. Islam Slimani is set to be involved after suffering a bad gash to the back of his knee that required stitches.

Harry Maguire is expected to make his debut as a centre-back partner for captain Wes Morgan, with Robert Huth scheduled to feature for the under-23s on Monday as he continues to work his way back from ankle surgery.

Nampalys Mendy is also back in training.

Before we provide a summer overview, let's run you through all the latest team news.

For the hosts, contract rebel Alexis Sanchez's bout of flu has been followed by an abdominal strain picked up in training before last weekend's Community Shield victory over Chelsea that looks set to keep him sidelined for two weeks.

Mesut Ozil (ankle) and Aaron Ramsey (calf) are expected to play some part tonight after missing that ABBA penalty shootout success, likewise captain Per Mertesacker who was forced off in the first half at Wembley after sustaining a nasty cut over his right eye during a collision with Gary Cahill.

Gabriel Paulista, Alexis Sanchez and Shkodran Mustafi
Getty Images

Long-term absentees Gabriel Paulista and Santi Cazorla remain out, while Laurent Koscielny is suspended following his brainless red card against Everton on the final day of last season that saw him miss the FA Cup final.

Francis Coquelin and Jack Wilshere are doubtful and defender Shkodran Mustafi may remain short of match fitness after his exertions at the Confederations Cup that forced a late return to pre-season training.

Imposing defender Sead Kolasinac and club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette could both make their competitive debuts for the Gunners.

Good evening and a very warm welcome to IBTimes UK's live coverage of the opening game of the 2017-18 Premier League season, which, for the first time ever, is taking place on a Friday evening.

Tonight's curtain-raiser comes from the Emirates Stadium in north London, where FA Cup holders Arsenal, who tied Arsene Wenger down to a new contract despite last year missing out on a top-four finish for the first time in 21 years, play host to a Leicester City side whose inevitably unsuccessful title defence certainly proved eventful with Claudio Ranieri ruthlessly dismissed before Craig Shakespeare's promotion coincided with a run to the Champions League quarter-finals and an end to any relegation fears.

Arsenal vs Leicester

Stay tuned for a review of these two clubs' respective summers in addition to all the latest injury and selection news. We will have confirmed lineups for you as soon as they drop and live minute-by-minute updates after kick-off at 19.45 BST.

It's good to be back!