Arsenal 3-1 Man United: Analysis

Phil McNulty, BBC Sport Chief football writer

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta devoted much time and effort to selling his vision to Declan Rice after making him his top transfer priority this summer – and has already been richly rewarded.

Arteta was determined Arsenal would not be caught short in the manner that saw them overhauled by Manchester City in the closing stages of last season’s Premier League title race.

And Rice was central to that ambition.

Rice was hot property after captaining West Ham United to the Europa Conference League and Manchester City made their interest clear with block-busting bids for the 24-year-old.

Arteta, however, was not to be denied and sold Arsenal so well that there was never any serious question of Rice going elsewhere. Arsenal wanted Rice and Rice wanted Arsenal.

Rice was bought for the big games and big moments, as he proved by giving Arsenal the lead 96 minutes into a game of fine margins as they eventually beat Manchester United 3-1.

If there are questions over Kai Havertz, Arsenal’s other big summer buy from Chelsea, there are no doubts about Rice.

He is an undoubted class act and will make many more stellar contributions like he did here at Emirates Stadium over the years.

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