Ham­mers teenager Rice scores to see off Arse­nal

Bristol Post - - SPORT -

» 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

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