Arsenal avoided a huge upset as Declan Rice’s 97th minute goal secured Mikel Arteta’s side a 4-3 victory against Luton Town.
The Hatters twice brought themselves level before going ahead through a Ross Barkley strike. The Gunners were not to be beaten, with Kai Havertz equalising almost immediately before Declan Rice popped up in the dying moments to win the match for Mikel Arteta’s men.
Here are five things we learned from the game…
A Premier League season that keeps on giving
Don’t you just love late drama? The Premier League has thrown up another sensational game, this time at Kenilworth Road. Declan Rice’s glancing header won the game for Arsenal in the final seconds, just two days after Liverpool replicated the same result against Fulham, whilst Manchester City and Spurs played out a six goal thriller.
Football is about drama and big moments and so far this season we have seen a plethora of massive game changing and season defining moments, and we are not even half way through yet. Arsenal have now gained nine points in the last five minutes of games this season. That could be the difference after 38 games.
Arsenal go five points clear at the top
Arsenal were five points clear at the top of the Premier League after 15 league games last season, and had the chance to repeat history this evening. Mikel Arteta’s side had to fight until the very end to take all three points and thus took advantage of playing a day before both Liverpool and Manchester City to draw away from their title rivals. Rice has now scored two stoppage time winners to gain Arsenal an extra four points, how vital could that prove to be in May?
Raya under fire despite Arsenal last gasp win
After the questions were posed to Arteta about Aaron Ramsdale’s future in the lead up to this game, it was the current number one keeper David Raya who came under question with a less than impressive performance against Luton Town.
Raya was well beaten from Luton’s first goal, however he would have been expected to do better for Luton’s other two goals. He struggled to deal with Elijah Adebayo who towered in Luton’s second, and let Ross Barkley’s tame effort roll under his body. Ramsdale has not made a Premier League appearance (barring Brentford two weeks ago) since Arsenal’s win against Manchester United. Could this Raya performance see another switch in the Arsenal net? The Declan Rice winner may have taken the attention away from the Spanish keeper, but his position could now be under fire.
Arsenal shaky from set-pieces
One of Luton’s strengths is their ability to create from set piece situations. Arsenal would have been aware of this coming into the game but ended up conceding two sloppy goals from Luton corners. Gabriel Osho rose highest to equalise five minutes after Arsenal’s opening goal, Osho was able to guide a free header into the corner. Raya should have been stronger in his dual with Adebayo as Arsenal conceded another soft goal. Arsenal looked vulnerable at times during the 90 minutes. A cause for concern for Mikel Arteta.
Luton show huge character with zero reward
Luton have battled hard against the big boys this season. They have narrowly lost to Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal. Rob Edwards and the Luton fans may feel sick to their stomach this evening, but there will certainly be an enormous amount of pride for the way they applied themselves during the 90 minutes, taking on one of the best teams in Europe in Arsenal and pushing them all the way.
It does not get easier for the Hatters who host Manchester City next, but they play with heart and are currently outside of the drop zone. There are plenty of positives to take for the newly promoted side.