Declan Rice: Last-gasp Luton winner shows Arsenal are a different beast in fresh title push

Declan Rice says Arsenal’s “never-say-die attitude” is fuelling their belief they can win the title.

The 24-year-old midfielder scored a 97th-minute winner as Arsenal beat Luton 4-3 to go five points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Mikel Arteta’s side had been trailing 3-2 with half an hour to go after two errors from goalkeeper David Raya.

Rice came to Arsenal’s rescue, though, and his goal was the ninth that Arsenal have scored in the 84th minute or later in the League this season.

Those late shows have earned the Gunners an extra nine points — and Rice believes the side’s refusal to give up makes them confident they can win Arsenal’s first title since 2004.

“Last year, they [Arsenal] were eight points clear and obviously lost the title,” he said.

“This year, there seems to be a different feel around the place in terms of being stern, being steady, being composed in big moments.

“Tonight, Luton caused us a massive threat and it looked like we were going to drop points.

“But this season, it’s that never-say-die attitude that we’ve got that we keep pushing, keep fighting to the end, and I think that’s our fifth goal in added time.

“We should start scoring a bit earlier! But to score in added time, it shows what we are made of and we will never stop believing.”

Rice has been in fine form for Arsenal since joining in the summer from West Ham and has been unfazed by his £105million price tag.

“I have always believed in my ability,” he said. “When I signed with Arsenal I was fully confident I could come here and perform at a really high level.

“But also, it is about staying level-headed, staying focused and not letting your feet get off the ground.”

Arsenal were not at their best last night and individual errors cost them. Gabriel Martinelli lost Gabriel Osho far too easily from a corner for Luton’s opener and then Raya was at fault for the next two goals.

He tried to claim a corner for Luton’s second, but was beaten to it by Elijah Adebayo. Raya then allowed Ross Barkley’s shot to squirm under him as Luton went 3-2 up.

The Spaniard’s shaky performance will fuel talk that Aaron Ramsdale deserves another run of games after losing his spot, but Arteta refused to criticise Raya last night.

It was just pure emotion - if that’s a yellow, okay it’s a yellow.

Mikel Arteta

“We have to defend better the situations as a team,” he said. “There are certain things leading to the goals and it’s not about blaming, we have never done it and we are not going to do it now.

“It’s about how the team reacts to that, because it’s going to happen, and I love that response. We can defend the goals much better, that’s for sure.”

Arteta was booked for the way he celebrated Rice’s late winner and it was his third yellow card of the season.

It means the Spaniard, who is still waiting on potential retrospective action for his comments following Arsenal’s defeat against Newcastle last month, will be banned from the touchline for the match at Aston Villa on Saturday.

“I could not be sitting on my seat, unfortunately,” Arteta said. “I had no spatial awareness at all. It was just pure emotion. So, if that’s a yellow, okay it’s a yellow.”