Soccer

Declan Rice says Arsenal ‘never stop believing’ after late winner at Luton

Declan Rice scored a late winner as Arsenal won at Luton (Joe Giddens/PA)
Declan Rice scored a late winner as Arsenal won at Luton (Joe Giddens/PA) Declan Rice scored a late winner as Arsenal won at Luton (Joe Giddens/PA)

Declan Rice believes Arsenal’s “never-say-die” attitude can lead them to Premier League glory this season.

The England midfielder headed home a last-gasp winner as Mikel Arteta’s side came from behind to secure a thrilling 4-3 victory at Luton on Tuesday night.

Rice nodded in Martin Odegaard’s cross to spark scenes of wild celebration in the away end after Kai Havertz had earlier drawn them level at Kenilworth Road.

The visitors had led 2-1 at half-time as Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus scored either side of Gabriel Osho’s equaliser but two errors from goalkeeper David Raya gifted Luton the lead.

Elijah Adebayo headed in a corner with Raya stranded as the Spain international came off his line and got nowhere near the ball before Ross Barkley’s shot squirmed under his body to take the roof off Luton’s famous old stadium.

Arsenal, though, proved their title-winning credentials by battling back to go five points clear before Wednesday night’s games, and Rice believes their knack of scoring late can galvanise the Gunners this season.

“I think last year they were eight points clear and obviously lost the title,” the £105million summer signing said.

“This year there definitely seems to be a different feel around the place in terms of being stern, being steady, being composed in big moments.

“Luton Town caused us a massive threat and it looked like we were going to drop points. But this season, it’s that never-say-die attitude that we’ve got that we keep pushing, keep fighting to the end and I think that’s our fifth goal in added time.

“I think we should start scoring some a bit earlier! But to score in added time, it shows what we are made of and we will never stop believing.”

Rice’s header was the ninth league goal Arsenal have scored in the 84th minute or beyond this campaign, with their late shows earning them an additional nine points.

Mikel Arteta will be banned from the touchline at Villa Park on Saturday
Mikel Arteta will be banned from the touchline at Villa Park on Saturday Mikel Arteta will be banned from the touchline at Villa Park on Saturday (Ian Walton/AP)

Arteta was booked for his over-zealous celebrations following Rice’s winner and will now be banned from the dugout for Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa.

For Luton, it was a tale of what might have been on a night when they went toe-to-toe with a team that spent 248 days at the top of the table last season before losing out to Manchester City.

“Proud. Devastated – the two words are proud and devastated,” experienced winger Andros Townsend said when asked to describe his feelings.

Andros Townsend was left
Andros Townsend was left Andros Townsend was left “proud and devastated” by Luton’s late loss (Joe Giddens/PA)

“Proud because it was an amazing performance against one of Europe’s best clubs, score three goals, press higher to not give them any time on the ball, to have chances.

“To still lose it, devastating, but on Sunday we’ve got Man City, so we have to drown our sorrows and then we have to take the positives and look forward to another tough game.”