Rice is central to West Ham as uncolored …

Rice is central to West Ham as off-color Arsenal miss Ozil craft

Press Association

Declan Rice scored his first career goal of firing West Ham to a 1-0 victory over Arsenal.

The 19-year old midfielder struck early in the second half and sentenced Arsenal, who left Mesut Özil out of their team, to a fifth loss of the season.

Marko Arnautovic was in the West Ham side despite turning his head with the Chinese, but in the end it was Rice who delivered it.

The pre-match speculation was about whether Arnautovic, the subject of a mega-money bid from the Chinese Super League, would appear for the Hammers.

In the end, boss Manuel Pellegrini remained stuck with the Austrian, despite the fact that his brother and agent claimed this week that he wanted to leave.

But it was a player who stood out because of his absence on the Arsenal team magazine, Özil, who raised his eyebrows.

Declan Rice of West Ham United celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the match during the Premier League match at the London Stadium.

Declan Rice of West Ham United celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the match during the Premier League match at the London Stadium.

The club's best paid player is fit and trained all week, but still could not even become the substitute's bank, the clearest indication that he is not yet part of Unai Emery's long-term plans.

It seemed a match tailored for the German playmaker, with West Ham inviting Arsenal to attack at ease during the first half, making the stomp all the more surprising.

Nonetheless, Arsenal started goal-oriented and Alexandre Lacazette curled a cross at wide range before reaching Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's cross.

Then Lacazette was played by Alex Iwobi, but his long shot was right on Lukasz Fabianski, the striker hooked the rebound.

Rice crucially intercepted the dangerous low cross of Sead Kolasinac with Lacazette waiting to pounce and Matteo Guendouzi shot wide from the edge of the sixteen.

But West Ham also had their moments, with Felipe Anderson sending a curling sweater just beside the target and Samir Nasri played a handsome one-two with Arnautovic in the area before he fished in the side mesh.

Nasri, who made his Premier League-debut for the Hammers against his former club, brought Anderson forward at a height of 18 meters, but the Brazilian broke a low goal and a narrow shot.

Just before the break, Rice headed up Anderson's corner on the wrong side of the last post, but he did not have to wait long to open his account.

Three minutes after the break Anderson collapsed on the right and Granit Xhaka made a mess of clearing his crotch. Nasri tapped the ball to Rice, who made it home cheerfully.

Emery made a double replacement by sending Aaron Ramsey and Lucas Torreira in an effort to resolve the situation.

But Aubameyang steered a slanting ride high and wide, Iwobi's shot hit Fabianski and the far post and an offside flag Laurent Koscielny denied a stoppage time equalizer to end a frustrating afternoon for the visitors.

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