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.