Saturday, February 24, 2024

“We thoroughly deserved it” – Declan Rice reflects on Arsenal’s win at Palace

Declan Rice says Arsenal’s celebrations at full time of tonight’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace were driven by relief having been run close by the home side.

Martin Odegaard scored the winner from the spot on 53 minutes after Eddie Nketiah was fouled by Palace keeper Sam Johnstone following a quick free kick.

If the Gunners thought they had a strong foothold in the game, that was quickly lost inside 14 minutes when Takehiro Tomiyasu picked up two soft yellow cards, the first for timewasting and the second for a perceived shirt tug.

Mikel Arteta made a host of defensive substitutions to close out the game, as Arsenal made it two wins from two.

Here’s what Declan had to say when interviewed by Sky Sports...

On the closing stages being very tough for Arsenal…

When you’re a player on that pitch and you look up at the clock and you’ve got 20 minutes to go and you’re down to 10 men against this young athletic Crystal Palace side, you know it’s going to be tough. But these are the places you want to come if you want to win Premier Leagues, if you want to be up there at the end of the season. These are the stadiums you’ve got to come to, show character and then pluck out the three points. And I thought we thoroughly deserved it in the end.

On the celebrations at the end of the game…

Yeah, I think it was a massive relief to be honest with you, to get through the 20 minutes. We obviously know what Selhurst Park is like. I think we controlled the game completely up until when we went down to 10 men. They obviously got a hold in the game but I think it was a face of relief [on the players] just because of the way we defended and we put our bodies on the line to get the three points tonight.

On the new rules around timewasting…

To be honest with you, I think at the start of the season we always have referees meeting at every club and you know they come in and explain the new rules so we know what’s happening, we know if we’re time wasting we’re going to get a yellow card. Obviously, they’re stamping down on it much more now. Obviously to see seven, eight, nine minutes go up at the end of the game can be frustrating at times but they laid down the law at the start of the season and I suppose if we’re time wasting, there’s nothing we can really do about it. It’s the new laws of the game.

On how his role was adapted compared to last Saturday…

Against Nottingham Forest, we played a diamond in midfield and I was to the left of the diamond and tonight I was the single pivot so I dropped back one spot. But in the last four weeks you know I’ve learned so much, I’ve spoken about it, I’m learning different ways of playing the position, constantly on the move, learning how we build up, learning how we play as a team. I’m really trying to test myself because to play for Arsenal, to play at the highest level, you need to be one of the best. I’m eager to keep learning and keep flourishing.

On whether there’s a role he prefers…

No, look, I think I love going forward. I think I showed that last year with West Ham, my attacking capabilities. Even though I’d have loved to have got more goals, I really enjoyed going forward. I had a conversation with the manager here as well. He sees me in that role. Also, he sees me in the number 6 role. I’m really comfortable playing in both. I think that will help the team throughout the season.

On whether he wants to score more goals…

I’m playing a bit more higher up the pitch as well when we’re attacking even as the six, so balls are going to drop to me now. But I need to put them away. Like you said, there are so many people that talk about me scoring goals, because I do the other side of stuff really well, but obviously to score goals as well is really good and I know I’ve got the ability to, so that’s something I’m definitely more hungry for.

On Moises Caicedo taking his transfer record

I had it up on the wall for two weeks, it’s come down already!

On enjoying life at Arsenal…

Do you know what, before the game tonight, I was on the way to the game and I just thought, just go out there and have it tonight. Just go out there and have it tonight. Just go out there and then try and put on a show. Even in the warm-up, I just felt an energy that I wanted to go out there and perform. I was just really up for it, to be honest with you. We’re only two games in, obviously, there’s so much talk around the price tag and me playing for Arsenal. I want to keep proving people wrong, proving people I can play at the top. I want to keep putting in top performances. I’ll keep my feet on the ground and keep listening to everyone around me and keep pushing.

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Johnny 4 Hats

I thought Rice was MOTM tonight. Splendid stuff. That pass to Eddie in the first half. That’s the Rice we want to see more of.

I never thought Arsenal would spend £100m on a player.

And I certainly never thought I’d consider that a bargain.

But if you look at how crazy this window has become and hoe established Rice is, it’s a great deal for Arsenal.

If £100m gets you Mudryk, Antony or Enzo, we’ve got ourselves a steal.



Not sure he’s a bargain but I recon we got the best player by far

Johnny 4 Hats
  • English tax
  • Captain tax
  • Trophy tax

And all for £10m less than a player who had one decent season at Brighton.

It’s a great deal. I’m just glad we got it done early as, by now, Rice would be worth £130m.


You forgot the “hype tax”. I remember even two-three seasons ago, people were already saying how Rice would end up playing for a huge club. It’s more expensive to buy “statement signings” like this.


In the present situation it is but that’s mostly because of Chelsea’s stupid owner

Man Manny

No way Rice is a bargain at £105m. I think we paid over the top, for no fault of ours though. We are talking about a market where 21 year old one season wonder, Caicedo, goes for £115m,


We overpaid for sure, we can thank Chelsea for that.
At least we are not wasting our money like they are

Johnny 4 Hats

If we hadn’t paid it, he’d be a city player.

And us having him + them not having him is worth £100m.

We’ve got five years of a world class player in his prime. That’s £20m a season. In a world where Joao Felix will cost you £15m for 5 months, I’m cool with that. And besides, he’ll be worth £200m in three seasons.

You can’t argue with the investment. Now it’s time to enjoy the fruits of our labour.

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

The “bargain” aspect will only be played out via winning trophies. If you look at the money generated by city for winning competitions last season (£300m – c£172m of which came from winning the prem), then the £105m outlay over 5 or more seasons could certainly be a bargain if it turns us into serial competition winners (if we won the prem each of those seasons we’d generate almost £1bn in winnings from that alone)


Totally agree about him being MOTM tonight. He cost a chunk of dough but theres very little risk in signing a player of that quality. He’s guaranteed to work out, the last player we signed that you could say that about was big Sol.
Whether that constitutes a bargain or not is all about opinion. I`m just happy to have him at the club.

Heavenly Chapecoense

For me, Nketiah was.

Mr Dob Bobalina

Best player on the pitch tonight



Man Manny

Rice > Caicedo


So glad he’s OUR player!

Cannon and ball and arsen’all

Fun to see the embrace of Ode and Rice at FT – I think we’ll see shared responsibility for this young team between the two of them


Loving his attitude. Great player but very humble and eager to learn all the time despite his price tag. None of the over inflated egos of some high value players


“…your Palaces”. Future manager confirmed.


More like sky sports pundit.


Love Rice already, he is gonna be a Proper Gooner for years to come


Elite mind. I love You Big Man Dec.

Ebuka Nwaokeke

“When you’re a player on that pitch and you look up at the clock and you’ve got 20 minutes to go and you’re down to 10 men against this young athletic Crystal Palace side, you know it’s going to be tough. But these are the places you want to come if you want to win Premier Leagues, if you want to be up there at the end of the season. ”
That’s the Mentailty I want…


His attitude is infectious, honest, , confident, positive and a team player.

Abdullahi Ibrahim

Rice is a bargain, a wonderful player and I am sure Arsenal are going to achieve more success, and even win trophies this season. Still he is a young future talent who will help the team for a long time, a very hard working player. Wish him a successful years in the team.


Rice has slotted straight in and he’s what we missed in the run in last season. Great buy, top player and looks like he’s loving life with us

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