Gabriel Jesus was on fire as he netted twice on his home debut for Arsenal to help beat Leicester City in a topsy-turvy encounter.
The Brazilian striker opened his account for Arsenal with two goals in the opening 45 minutes; the first a sumptuous piece of play that saw him chip the ball into the top corner from inside the area, before he nodded in from close range 13 minutes later to put the home side in control.
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And despite a Wiliam Saliba own goal halving the deficit, Arsenal bounced back within two minutes thanks to Granit Xhaka and repeated the trick again when Gabriel Martinelli netted moments after James Maddison had once again given the visitors hope.
That proved to be enough to secure a second successive win at the start of the season, and kick the Gunners’ campaign off in the perfect fashion.
The game kicked off with temperatures in the mid-30s, but Arsenal were indebted to the coolness of Aaron Ramsdale just three minutes in when Wesley Fofana linked up with Jamie Vardy to glide into the box, but the home team’s number one stayed big to repel the defender’s shot.
Perhaps due to the conditions chances were initially at a premium, but Arsenal gradually began to dictate proceedings. Firstly, Jesus rippled the side-netting with a header from a Gabriel Martinelli free-kick, and then Bukayo Saka clipped a perfect pass towards Xhaka at the back post, but his header struck the woodwork.
But on 23 minutes, Arsenal did get on the scoresheet as Jesus opened his Emirates Stadium account in sublime style. He began the move on the left before finding Martinelli, who wriggled his way into the area to pick out Xhaka, who laid the ball back to Jesus. The striker stopped it dead, before quickly and casually chipping the ball over the 6’3” frame of Danny Ward into the top corner from 10 yards out to send the home supporters wild.
That piece of champagne football came just before the first scheduled water break which briefly slowed down proceedings, but 10 minutes before half-time Jesus doubled his tally with a much more routine finish than his first. A dangerous corner from Martinelli forced Vardy to inadvertently flick the ball backwards, and Jesus was perfectly placed to nod home from a couple of yards out.
Jesus was thriving and twice in quick succession he had chances to complete a hat-trick – firstly latching onto a long ball by Ramsdale, spinning past Jonny Evans and was only denied by a well-timed tackle by Wilfred Ndidi, and then moments later he was played in by Martinelli only to see Ward smother his effort.
But just eight minutes into the second half, the Foxes saw their deficit reduced when a long ball by Evans was flicked goalwards by James Justin, and Saliba could only watch as his attempted header back to Ramsdale crept into the net.
That could have sent nerves jangling right around the ground, but just two minutes later Arsenal showed great character to make it 3-1. Ben White saw his cross fumbled by Ward right into the path of Jesus, who laid the ball off to Xhaka to grab a deserved goal.
But the Foxes wouldn’t quit and with 16 minutes remaining, Maddison linked up with Kalechi Iheanacho on the right, and the Nigerian switched the ball back to the playmaker who drilled the ball between Ramsdale’s legs from a tight angle.
However, once again Arsenal showed excellent courage to go back down the other end and restore the two-goal cushion. Martinelli started and ended the move, winning back possession in the middle of the park, getting back into space and when found by Jesus, he steadied himself before unleashing a low inch-perfect strike into the bottom corner to score in his third consecutive Premier League game.
With 10 minutes remaining Jesus looked destined to complete his treble when Saka forced Ward to save with his feet, but the rebound proved too tricky for the hitman to keep on target, and despite Thomas Partey and Eddie Nketiah going close late on, enough had been done to secure six points from six.
Arsenal will next head to the south coast on Saturday, August 20 for a teatime meeting with Bournemouth, before hosting Fulham at the same time a week later back at Emirates Stadium.