Alexandre Lacazette showed within 120 seconds of his Arsenal debut that he can be the man to score more than 20 goals this season, but his compatriot Olivier Giroud made a firm point with a late headed winner to show manager Arsene Wenger why he remains such a valuable asset.
Lacazette scored with his second touch in the Premier League – with his first touch having come from the kick-off – yet it was fellow France international Giroud who will make the headlines after sealing the three points for an Arsenal side who showed glimpses of impressive attacking quality throughout.
Sanchez may have to accept the decision of Arsene Wenger to keep him until his contract expires next summer but the 90 minutes he witnessed on Friday night would have surely provided another reason as to why he wants to join Manchester City before the transfer window closes.
Wenger’s team selection drew critics after the second half ended with right-back Hector Bellerin playing at left-back, the two left-backs Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal in the centre of defence and midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at right-back.
While Wenger’s critics may use it as another stick to beat him with, the tactical errors emphasised why Arsenal should change their zonal marking system to a man-marking system – especially when the height of Per Mertesacker isn’t available to them.
It’s easy to be overly critical when only the first match of the season has been played but for many Arsenal supporters a sense of deja vu could be felt around the stadium as Jamie Vardy – a player who rejected Wenger’s overtures last summer – scored two goals to capitalise on the Gunners’ lax defending in both halves.
However, it was Giroud who was Arsenal’s hero on the unfamiliar occasion of a Friday night Premier League match.
The frontman has now scored seven league goals as a substitute since August 2016 – three more than any other player – and his ability to come off the substitutes’ bench to make an immediate impact is one of many reasons why the club cannot let him leave this summer.
If Alexis wants end-to-end craziness with a touch of attacking class in between then Arsenal is the place to be.
The Gunners are guaranteed to infuriate fans with moments of confusion, madness and magic yet Wenger’s men do have a genuine stab at the title alongside five other teams.