Rice to the rescue as Arsenal win late at Luton – but only after Raya disaster deepens keeper issues


England midfielder Declan Rice has scored in the seventh minute of added time to earn Premier League leaders Arsenal a wild 4-3 win over Luton and spare the blushes of teammate David Raya.

Goalkeeper Raya made errors that led to two goals for Luton, leaving Arsenal on the cusp of dropping two points at Kenilworth Road.

However, with the clock having run past the six allotted minutes of stoppage time, Rice got on the end of Martin Odegaard’s cross and glanced a header into the bottom corner for a victory that lifted Arsenal five points clear at the top.

Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus scored either side of a Gabriel Osho strike for Luton as Arsenal led 2-1 at halftime.

Then came Raya’s mistakes.

First, the goalkeeper was beaten in the air at a corner by Elijah Adebayo, who powered in a header to equalise for the hosts shortly after the break.

Eight minutes later, Raya allowed a shot by Ross Barkley to go under his body as he dived to his left, giving promoted Luton an unexpected 3-2 advantage.


The Gunners go mad. Mikel Arteta goes mad.

But it’s heartbreak for Luton Town.#PL #OptusSport pic.twitter.com/DSC50JEKyt

— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) December 5, 2023

Kai Havertz levelled in the 60th minute before Rice – who joined Arsenal from West Ham for more than $190 million over the off season – completed the comeback after relentless late pressure from the visitors.

In Tuesday’s other EPL game, Hwang Hee-chan continued his fine scoring form to fire Wolves to a 1-0 win over second-from-bottom Burnley at Molineux. 

The visitors had on Saturday ended a seven-game losing run with a thumping 5-0 win over fellow strugglers Sheffield United, but they were undone by defensive frailties against Wolves. 

David Raya with the blunder for Arsenal and Luton are level!

The Arsenal goalkeeper fails to claim the cross. Elijah Adebayo climbs over him and heads home.

Kenilworth Road goes mad in celebration.

LIVE | https://t.co/UlyIX2SyX5#PL #OptusSport pic.twitter.com/VSThcpDS0O

— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) December 5, 2023

Hwang took advantage after sloppy play from Burnley’s backline shortly before halftime, keeping his composure to roll the ball past keeper James Trafford for his ninth goal of a prolific season.  

“The numbers are incredibly impressive,” Wolves boss Gary O’Neil said of his in-form striker. 

“Everything about him is impressive. Will he continue at this rate for the rest of the season? I hope so. If the team can keep performing.

“It’s no fluke he has as many goals as he has, he’s bought in fully to what we’re trying to do.”

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