Arsenal’s £105million midfield maestro was the match-winner during Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Manchester United with a 96th minute goal to put the Gunners in front
Arsenal’s record-signing Declan Rice has admitted his preference is to be deployed in the number six role after his match-winning performance against Manchester United on Sunday.
The clash was an emotional rollercoaster for both sides, with the Red Devils going in front courtesy of a Marcus Rashford strike, before they were immediately pegged back by Martin Odegaard’s equaliser. The scoreline remained 1-1 for the majority of the game, though Rice helped snatch all three points for Arsenal deep into second-half stoppage time when his deflected effort got the better of Andre Onana.
Gabriel Jesus sealed the win minutes later when he calmly fooled Diogo Dalot with a dummy before slotting the ball beyond the United ‘keeper. Just two minutes separated Arsenal’s second and third goals, sending the Emirates into absolute pandemonium.
Rice’s goal in particular sparked wild scenes, with the former West Ham captain netting his first Gunners goal at the perfect moment. It marked the ideal end to what was a stellar individual performance from the 24-year-old England international, who discussed after the game where he feels he can have the biggest impact.
“I am comfortable playing in both roles,” Rice explained. “I like the six role a lot more, it’s where I feel best in training on and off the ball. But I’ve been playing the eight role more, you get more chances in the box. Wherever the manager wants me to play, I’ll play.”
After the game, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta was pressed for comment on Rice’s display and could not hide his delight at the performance. “Rice was outstanding, but so was the whole team. But [Rice] did impose himself and gave his momentum when the team needed it. I’m very happy with his performance.”
Rice went on to discuss how United seemed to have won the game when Alejandro Garnacho had the ball in the back of the net at 1-1, only for VAR to intervene and chalk the Argentine’s goal off for offside.
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“It’s the fine margins in football. I thought in the second half we were sloppy at times and we gave the ball away and they caught us on the counter and we did not learn from that. And, at the end it could have easily been a goal,” he said.
“Then we go up the other end, I score and then Gabby (Jesus) seals it. When the quality on show in these games is that high, these fine margins make the results and in the end we came through with the result.”
Following the win, Arsenal sit fifth in the Premier League table as one of four teams that boast 10 points from their opening four games this season.
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