All eyes on Rice
Arsenal will make the short trip over to East London as we face yet another London Derby. West Ham have had a rocky few weeks and haven’t managed to get a win in their last 6 games. Their last win came against us at The Emirates where they walked away with a 2-0 win after scoring early in the first and second half of the game. All eyes will be on Declan Rice tonight as he faces his boyhood club and the last time we met, you could tell the pressure was on his shoulders.
Rice played at West Ham from 2015 to 2023, completing 204 appearances for the Hammers before joining the Gunners in the summer for a record fee of £105 Million. He has had a great start to life at Arsenal, becoming a vital part of Arteta side and in my opinion was worth every penny.
West Ham has been a struggle to play against this season, with them knocking us out of the FA Cup and then coming to The Emirates and taking three important points off us at home. Rice only played for just over 30 minutes in the FA Cup loss and looked a bit lost playing against his old side. He was also coming back from a knock and that was the first time he was playing back at London Stadium since he left. Also he didn’t have the nicest response from the fans he served for so long.
When they came to the Emirates, he started and played a full 90 minutes in the middle trying to control the game, but two great goals from West Ham and a strong defence saw us walk away empty handed. Rice himself had a good game and was everywhere you looked, having 120 touches throughout the game and 100/107 (93%) accurate passes, he was a key part of our build up play, but we just weren’t clinical enough in front of goal on the night and West Ham set up their defence perfectly.
Since then Arsenal have looked a better and more clinical side and Rice has been back in top form. There will be a lot of added pressure on his shoulders as all eyes will be on him and it’s never going to be easy to play against the club you spent so many years at growing and becoming the player you are today. Arsenal will need him to be at his best and with Jorginho alongside him I think it will make a massive difference.
Tonight is a must-win for Arsenal and coming off a great win against Liverpool, it will mean nothing if we don’t win tonight. As I said, they have beaten us twice already this season, but I think after the January break we have looked a lot more composed and clinical in front of goal and will hopefully be able to get the revenge we so desperately need.
What’s your thoughts Gooners? Do you think Rice steps up today and has a big game?
STOP CELEBRATING! Here is the latest DUBLIN ARSENAL podcast with our Irish friends EAMONN And JONATHON special guest Liam from @inthenorthbank on our fantastic win over Liverpool and a preview of West Ham….
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