Hammers teenager Rice scores to see off Arsenal
» DECLAN Rice scored his first career goal to fire West Ham to a 1-0 win over Arsenal.
The 19-year-old midfielder struck early in the second half to condemn Arsenal, who left Mesut Ozil out of their squad, to a fifth defeat of the season.
Marko Arnautovic was in the West Ham side despite having his head turned by the Chinese, but in the end it was Rice who delivered.
The pre-match speculation centred around whether Arnautovic, the subject of a megamoney bid from the Chinese Super League, would feature for the Hammers. However, the Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini stuck by the Austrian, despite his brother and agent claiming this week that he wanted to leave.
But it was a player conspicuous by his absence on the Arsenal team sheet, Ozil, which raised eyebrows.
The club’s highest-paid player is fit, but still could not even make the substitutes’ bench, the clearest indication yet that he is not part of manager Unai Emery’s long-term plans.
Nevertheless, Arsenal began with purpose and Alexandre Lacazette curled an early shot wide before heading over from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s cross.
But West Ham were having their moments, too. Samir Nasri, making his Premier League debut for the Hammers against his former club, teed up Felipe Anderson, but the Brazilian drilled a low shot narrowly wide.
Three minutes after the interval Anderson raided down the right and, when Granit Xhaka made a mess of clearing his cross, Nasri tapped the ball to Rice, who gleefully hooked it home.
West Ham’s Declan Rice celebrates