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Rice's last-gasp winner sends Arsenal five points clear

5 Dec 2023
Rice, Arsenal

Midfielder's header in seventh minute of added time secures thrilling 4-3 victory at Luton

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Declan Rice’s header in the seventh minute of stoppage time secured a dramatic victory as Arsenal beat Luton Town 4-3 to go five points clear at the top.

In a pulsating encounter at Kenilworth Road, both sides went in front only to be pegged back, but it was the Gunners who provided the decisive blow to extend their winning run in the league to four matches.

How the match unfolded

Arsenal controlled the early proceedings, but Luton aimed to assert their presence in the match with a number of strong challenges.

However, the Gunners would punish poor play from Luton to take the lead on 20 minutes.

A heavy backpass from Amari'i Bell forced goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski to kick out for a throw. Gabriel Jesus took it quickly and found Bukayo Saka, who on his 200th appearance in all competitions for Arsenal, cut the ball back from the byline for Gabriel Martinelli to sweep into the bottom corner.

Five minutes later, Luton equalised when Gabriel Osho got on the end of an Alfie Doughty corner to power his header beyond David Raya for his first Premier League goal.

With half-time approaching, Arsenal restored their advantage once more when Ben White’s first-time cross was nodded in by Gabriel Jesus.

The Brazilian’s first goal in eight Premier League matches and only second of the season made him the 11th different player to have scored Arsenal's last 11 goals in the competition.

Four minutes after the break, Luton were back level for the second time and this goal was almost a carbon-copy of their first.

Another corner from Doughty was not dealt with by Raya and he was out-jumped by Elijah Adebayo, who headed in.

With Kenilworth Road already rocking, Ross Barkley then put the hosts ahead on 57 minutes with a low left-footed shot that squirmed beneath Raya.

Ross Barkley v Arsenal

But Luton’s lead would last just three minutes as Kai Havertz continued his fine form in front of goal when he dinked the ball over the advancing Kaminski from a clever Gabriel Jesus pass for his third goal in his last four matches in all competitions.

Substitute Leandro Trossard twice went close twice to putting Arsenal back in front, with one shot being deflected over while he fired his second narrowly wide.

The match looked to be heading towards a draw but Rice headed Martin Odegaard’s cross into the bottom corner to spark joyous scenes in the away end.

Declan Rice v Luton

It was the fifth time in 15 Premier League matches this season that Arsenal have scored a game-changing goal after the 84th minute, and the third in stoppage time.

Meanwhile, it's the first time since a 5-3 win over Chelsea in October 2011 that the Gunners have won a Premier League away match in which they've conceded three or more goals.

Arsenal now have 36 points, with rivals Liverpool and Manchester City both in action on Wednesday, when they will hope to close the gap on the Gunners.

Luton remain 17th on nine points, two clear of the bottom three.

Title race

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
1 Liverpool LIV 26 +38 60
2 Man City MCI 26 +33 59
3 Arsenal ARS 26 +39 58
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Next five Premier League fixtures
Did you know?

Bukayo Saka became the fourth youngest player to play 200 games in all competitions for Arsenal (22y 91d). His assist for Gabriel Martinelli’s opener was his 11th of the season in all comps, more than any other player in Europe’s big five leagues.

Declan Rice’s winner at 96 minutes and 23 seconds was Arsenal’s latest winning goal on record (since 2006/07) in a Premier League away game. It also ended a 10-game winless run away against Luton in all competitions, earning their first Kenilworth Road victory since 1984.

Arsenal had 52 touches in the opposition box against Luton this evening, their highest tally in a Premier League away game since September 2016 (55 v Hull City).

Declan Rice is the third different Arsenal player to score two 90th minute winning goals in a single Premier League campaign, after Ian Wright (1993/94 and 1995/96) and Nicklas Bendtner (2009/10).

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