Declan Rice admits he was relieved after Arsenal survived Takehiro Tomiyasu’s red card to win 1-0 at Crystal Palace.
Arsenal made it back-to-back wins to start the new season after grinding out a hard-fought victory at Crystal Palace, with Martin Odegaard scoring the only goal of the game from the penalty spot at Selhurst Park.
Odegaard sent Sam Johnstone the wrong way from the spot after the goalkeeper had brought down Eddie Nketiah in the area, though Arsenal were made to hang on after Tomiyasu was sent off in controversial circumstances.
The Japan international picked up a first booking for time-wasting when taking a throw-in, before he was harshly adjudged to have pulled back Jordan Ayew just seven minutes later.
Rice admitted Arsenal had to dig in to secure three points and said the full-time whistle was a ‘massive relief’ for the Gunners.
“You look at the clock and there was 20 minutes to go and against a young athletic side it is tough,” he said to Sky Sports.
“If you want to be up at the top at the end of the season you have to show character and pluck out three points.
“I think it was a massive relief to get through them 20 minutes, we know what it is like at Selhurst Park and we controlled the game completely until we went down to 10 men – we put our body on the line to get the three points.”
Arsenal withstood late pressure from the hosts to earn a vital win and move level with Brighton and Manchester City on six points, as the only sides with a perfect Premier League record after two games.
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