Football

Arteta on match-winner Rice: ‘He had an incredible game again’

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta has praised match-winner Declan Rice after his stoppage time winner secured Arsenal a dramatic 4-3 win over Luton Town.

The Gunners fought from behind to win it in the 97th minute thanks to Rice’s extraordinary late winner.

Arsenal led twice after goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus but Luton fought back, equalising for the second time through Elijah Adebayo before Ross Barkley but the Hatters in front 57 minutes in.

The Gunners were not behind for long as only three minutes later Kai Havertz brought Mikel Arteta’s side level on the hour mark. Arsenal dominated the rest of proceedings without making the decisive breakthrough, but with seconds left on the clock, Declan Rice headed home to break Luton hearts.

Despite the crazy nature of the match, Arteta credited Luton for battle they showed to his league leaders:

“This is the incredible thing about football, emotions and what you live together with a lot of people.

“It was a special night. Credit to Luton, the atmosphere they created, how they were coached, how they made it difficult for us, but we found a way to win.

“The resilience, and the character, and the quality and desire to win that the team showed was great.”

The Spaniard heaped huge praise on match winner Rice, who once again shone in the heart of the Gunners midfield, capping off another fine performance with the winning goal.

This was already the second time Rice has won a game in injury time for Arsenal in his short time in north London, and his manager commended his record transfer for the impact the 24-year-old is having on the team.

“He had an incredible game again. The leadership, the quality that he’s showing every week, every game it is getting better and better.

And then in the opponent’s box, he’s got that ability and that smell to get put the ball in the back of the net.”

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