Declan Rice gives West Ham the lead against Arsenal. Steven Paston
tidy finish

Declan Rice scores his first West Ham goal as Hammers claim huge win over Arsenal

A sweetly-struck shot from the 19-year-old gave the home side a deserved lead.

DECLAN RICE CELEBRATED his first West Ham goal this afternoon to give the Hammers a valuable three points at home to Arsenal.

The midfielder enjoyed an excellent first-half of action and West Ham almost had a half-time lead – Samir Nasri’s lay-off found Felipe Anderson who’s low shot fizzed by the left post.

The home side did break the deadlock three minutes after the restart and it was the game’s most potent duo again involved in the build-up.

Anderson took the ball down the right-hand flank and pulled his cross back for Nasri. The Frenchman controlled the ball and slipped a neat pass into the path of Rice who took the strike on first time.

His effort flew into the top right-hand corner of the net to give Manuel Pellegrini’s side a deserved lead.

It was the 19-year-old’s first goal for the London club and turned out to be the winner, adding to what has already been a wonderfully successful season for the young midfielder.

“I can’t put it into words,” he said. “All the lads are always on to me to shoot and I usually pick a pass.

“I was in the box and I said I’d take it on. It’s gone in the top corner and we’ve beaten Arsenal. It’s a special moment.

“Recently I’ve been getting myself into the box a bit more and I’ve been getting closer. It’s something I need to work on.

“After I missed the header before half time, I was gutted with that. But I managed to get the only goal of the game.”

Speaking this week, Rice said his focus was very much on his club career at this moment in time and that a decision on his international future would come soon.

Ahead of a huge weekend of Heineken Champions Cup action, Murray Kinsella, Andy Dunne and Gavan Casey assess the provinces’ chances of putting a foot in the last eight:

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