Aaron Ramsey – Arsenal's talisman, goalscorer and match-winner extraordinaire.
The midfield magician came to the fore again for the Gunners, popping up at the right moment, just when it looked like being another frustrating opening day for Arsenal in the English Premier League, to give his team a vital 2-1 win over managerless Crystal Palace, who had to play the final few minutes with ten men after Jason Puncheon was sent off for a second bookable offence.
The Gunners, who had a massive 78 percent possession, were staring at two dropped points, after Koscielny had cancelled out a first half header from Brede Hangeland, with that record of not picking up an opening day win since 2009 looking like extending another year.
However, a minute or so after Puncheon was given his marching orders, Arsenal, who pushed, pushed and then pushed some more, desperate to blow the Crystal Palace house down, found that winner in the 91st minute courtesy their best player, who had the simple job of tapping in from close range after an initial shot from Mathieu Debuchy was repelled by Julian Speroni.
Arsenal made a bright start to the game, with Alexis Sanchez seeing plenty of the ball, and even showing his tremendous skills with a no-look pass and a backheel in the space of a few minutes. Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal's main man, was also quite involved in the first 20 minutes or so, and even saw a decent penalty shout waved away with the midfielder going down under the challenge of Scott Dann after a nice through ball from Jack Wilshere.
Arsene Wenger had named the same starting XI that beat Manchester City in the Community Shield last weekend, and that meant another start for Yaya Sanogo, who this time around had a game to forget – unable to get into the match enough, and not quite able to stick the ball to his feet when he needed to hold it up to bring the others into the game.
It looked like being a typically frustrating afternoon at the Emirates for Arsenal and that sense only seemed to grow when Hangeland got in ahead of Koscielny at the near post to direct a wonderful header into the far corner in the 35th minute.
Palace had not exactly been in the game until then, even if their sporadic attacks did cause a few worries in the Arsenal defence. Arsenal desperately needed to get back into the game before halftime, otherwise those Aston Villa defeat ghosts from the opening game of last season might have come back to haunt them, and they did just that right on the stroke of the break.
It was another setpiece that produced the second goal of the match, with Alexis Sanchez, taking the freekick after Santi Cazorla, who had a game to forget, and then some, had made a mess of quite a few before that, finding a ball over the top for Koscielny to head home.
Arsenal would have been expected to come out in the second half with more of a cutting edge, but Palace, clearly not forgetting the defensive drills drilled in by Tony Pulis, were impenetrable, with the likes of Sanchez, Ramsey and Wilshere all left frustrated.
Wenger brought on Giroud near the hour mark, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday, a little later on, as Arsenal chased a late winner.
Sanchez hit the target with a shot from distance, but it did not really trouble Julian Speroni, while Giroud nearly got on the end of a nice cross from Nacho Monreal, who had to come on early in the second half after another injury to Kieran Gibbs.
Giroud certainly gave Arsenal an extra edge, and again came close with a strike on the angle, before Arsenal were given a lifeline, albeit really late in the game, as Puncheon saw red for a second yellow card following a late challenge on Nacho Monreal.
And, if that red card actually made a difference or not is a matter of debate, not that Arsenal will bother with it even a little, with Ramsey giving his side the win with another crucial goal.
It was off another setpiece, with Oxlade-Chamberlain's corner being recycled back to him and Koscielny and Giroud keeping the ball alive in the box, before Debuchy, who had a relatively quiet game after a quick start, struck a shot from eight yards. Speroni made a nice save to stop the ball from going in off the Frenchman's boot, but Ramsey was on hand to tap-in the rebound and end that opening game hoodoo for the Gunners in dramatic fashion.
Other results: Manchester United 1-2 Swansea City; Leicester City 2-2 Everton; QPR 0-1 Hull City; Stoke City 0-1 Aston Villa; West Brom 2-2 Sunderland; West Ham 0-1 Tottenham.