RICE ONE SON
Declan the unlikely Hammers hero as Marko bids farewell
West Ham hero Mark Noble hailed “special” midfield partner Declan Rice as his first league goal sunk Arsenal.
The Irish international’s strike in 48 minutes was left unanswered by a Gunners side that was off the pace.
The only downside for Irons fans was when striker Marko Arnautovic left the field and appeared to wave goodbye to the London Stadium.
The Austrian is subject to a £35million bid from Chinese club Shanghai SIPG.
But the Hammers support can worry later. For now, they’ll celebrate their first win over Arsenal since 2015.
They’ ll be particularly pleased with the awesome performance of Rice, who turns 20 tomorrow.
And skipper Noble heaped praise on the youngster.
He said: “I would be surprised if Declan sleeps tonight. He is a special talent and works hard.
“If any young footballers need someone to look up to, Declan is your man.
“I’ve been in his position so he knows I’m always there if he needs me.”
Rice said: “It’s hard to put this feeling into words. I don’t want to turn 20 now! I can’t speak highly enough about Mark, he has helped me every day since I broke into the team three years ago.”
The game started fiercely with chances for both sides.
Fil ipe Anderson was unlucky to drag a shot just wide just before Matteo Guendouzi came close with a 25-yard rasper.
Rice should then have opened the scoring but his header from an Anderson delivery went wide.
While Arnautovic grabbed the headlines, an incoming signing flew under the radar.
Samir Nasri played his first game since an 18- month ban from football for a violation of doping rules.
And it was the French midfielder who set up Rice to stroke home early in the second half.
Two clearly offside goals were all Arsenal could muster from then on.
And Gunners boss Unai Emery said: “We need to be competitive both home and away. Away we are not taking the results we want.”
SCREAMER Rice roars after his shot beats Leno (below right) then Arnautovic waves to fans