Declan Rice of Arsenal reacts after scoring their first goal during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Arsenal FC at Stamford Bridge on October 21, 2023
Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice.

‘Worst we’ve played’ – Rice relieved as Arsenal salvage point against Chelsea

Declan Rice admitted that Arsenal played their worst half of football this season against Chelsea after coming from two goals behind at Stamford Bridge. 

The Gunners went behind in the 15th minute after Cole Palmer scored a penalty, which was awarded following a contentious handball by William Saliba. Mikhailo Mudryk doubled the host’s lead shortly after the break when he caught David Raya unawares from out wide.

The Blues were heading towards their first Premier League win over a top-half team this term until Rice scored a long range effort. Leandro Trossard equalised with six minutes left on the clock when he tapped home at the back post.

Although Rice was disappointed with Arsenal‘s first-half performance, he praised the team’s “heart and character” to get back in the game and rescue a point at a ground they have struggled in the past 20 years.

“First half from us the worst we’ve played this season in terms of sloppiness,” the England midfielder told Sky Sports. “But massive credit to Chelsea, the manager said they had been unlucky this season and they made it difficult for us.

“To show heart and character, it is not easy when 2-0 down. It’s about having that fight and mindset, pushing the team on and making sure everyone has belief. It was a good comeback.

“Chelsea made it compact, but us on the ball was not good enough – my first pass I gave it away. It gave Chelsea encouragement but in the second half we showed what we’re about – that hunger and never-say-die attitude. We showed great heart and character.”

Rice capitalised on a poor pass from goalkeeper Robert Sanchez to score Arsenal’s opening goal, shooting first time after intercepting the ball.

“Instead of driving the ball with my laces I had to curl it,” the former Chelsea academy prospect explained. “It was a quick instinct about whether to pass the ball to someone or take it on.

“I was buzzing but we were still 2-1 down and I wanted us to keep going and get another. I’m glad we did that.”

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