Football NewsRice Rescues Arsenal From “Death” As He Nods Home At Stoppage Time
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Declan Rice headed in a late winner as Arsenal went five points clear at the top of the Premier League table, despite two blunders from David Raya.

The Gunners twice surrendered a lead by conceding from corners, with Raya feeling the pressure in goal as Aaron Ramsdale watched on from the bench once again. The win will feel incredible for Mikel Arteta, who has held off the chasing pack of Liverpool and Manchester City ahead of their games on Wednesday.

After a slow start to the game, it burst to life in bizarre circumstances. Gabriel Martinelli opened the scoring when he found the bottom corner from Bukayo Saka’s pass. However, Luton levelled minutes later through Gabriel Osho’s header from a corner. Thomas Kaminski kept out efforts from Saka and Martinelli, but Arsenal still went in 2-1 ahead at the break thanks to Gabriel Jesus’ simple header from Ben White’s cross.

Once again they couldn’t hold onto their lead for long, with Raya at fault as Elijah Adebayo rose highest to head in another corner in the 49th minute. A nightmare spell for Raya continued when Ross Barkley fired underneath his body to give Luton a 3-2 lead. Jesus found Kai Havertz to equalise three minutes later following some hesitant defending from the hosts.

Jesus’ work-rate and all-round contribution to Arsenal ’s play has never really been in doubt. But his goalscoring definitely has. Coming into this game the Brazilian striker had scored just 16 times in 47 matches since his £45million move from Manchester City and had just one goal in the Premier League this season – and that came in early September.

When White got to the byline and stood up a cross to the back post, Jesus was arriving at the perfect time to nod in. Arsenal could really do with some consistency in front of goal from their main man over the coming weeks.

Arteta must have known what he was letting himself in for when he said at the start of the season that Arsenal would not have such a thing as a first-choice goalkeeper this season. Despite his insistence, Raya has been just that, keeping Aaron Ramsdale on the bench. And this was a bad evening for the on-loan keeper.

Raya was not at fault for the first goal, but he was almost solely to blame for the second. He allowed himself to be put off by Andros Townsend’s mere presence and then failed to beat Adebayo to the ball, despite having the advantage of being able to use both his hands.

He still looked rattled by the mistake when Barkley worked a bit of space against White and fired a low shot at him. Raya didn’t get down quick enough and allowed the shot to squirm underneath him. Arteta will have questions to answer about his goalkeeper once again.

What an end to the game. This looked like a nightmare night for Arsenal, with the nature of the goals conceded stinging. With second-placed Liverpool facing bottom side Sheffield United on Wednesday, they knew they needed to win here.

Last season the wheels fell off in the New Year as Manchester City’s relentlessness came to the fore. If they are in a similar position at the end of this season, Arsenal will look back on nights like this so fondly. Rice cost them £105m in the summer – and he’s looking like he’s worth every penny.