Arteta and his players celebrated wildly, emphasizing the importance of a hard-fought escape that fuels Arsenal’s belief they can finally win their first title since 2004.
Arsenal surged five points ahead at the top of the Premier League on Tuesday as Declan Rice’s last-gasp goal capped the leaders’ thrilling fightback in a 4-3 win against Luton. Mikel Arteta’s side, rocked by a pair of costly blunders from keeper David Raya, found themselves trailing 3-2 in the second half of an intense clash at Kenilworth Road. However, Arsenal roared back to strengthen their position at the top of the table, with Kai Havertz’s equalizer and Rice’s header deep into stoppage time.
Arteta and his players celebrated wildly, highlighting the importance of a hard-fought escape that fuels the belief that Arsenal can finally win their first title since 2004.
“I’m so happy. We knew it would be a big battle here, and we made it hard for ourselves with the way we conceded the goals,” Arteta said.
We, as a team, demonstrated our spirit by fighting, showcasing our quality in the right moments, and never giving up. We went for it and reaped our rewards today.
Luton deserves big compliments; it was a challenging night. I’ve talked with the team, and they are all excited.
Gabriel Martinelli scored first for Arsenal, Gabriel Osho equalized for Luton, and Gabriel Jesus restored the visitors’ lead just before half-time.
Elijah Adebayo quickly scored Luton’s second equalizer after half-time due to Raya’s first mistake, and Ross Barkley capitalized on another error from the Spaniard.
But England midfielder Rice had the final say, securing Arsenal their sixth consecutive win in all competitions since their controversial VAR-aided defeat at Newcastle.
Liverpool, in second place, can narrow the gap to Arsenal to just two points if they win against bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United on Wednesday.
Arteta’s team has been formidable on the road since the beginning of last season, securing victories in 17 away games during that period. The Gunners’ first visit to Kenilworth Road in 32 years marked their initial triumph at the venue since 1984.
They took the lead in the 20th minute when Bukayo Saka maneuvered down the right flank and delivered a low cross. Martinelli then met it with a scuffed finish into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
A well-executed corner routine undid Arsenal, leaving them flat-footed five minutes later. Osho found space to thump his header past Raya from 10 yards, securing his first Premier League goal.
On the stroke of half-time, Jesus restored Arsenal’s lead with a close-range header from Ben White’s looping cross.
Luton’s proficiency in set pieces added another twist to the plot in the 49th minute. Adebayo rose highest to head home from close range after Raya struggled to deal with Alfie Doughty’s corner.
Rob Edwards’ side leads the Premier League in set-piece goals this season, with over 50 percent originating from free-kicks, corners, and penalties.
The Hatters didn’t have to rely on their expertise in dead-ball situations as they secured a third goal, courtesy of another blunder from Raya in the 57th minute.
Former Chelsea midfielder Barkley smoothly moved away from White inside the area for a low shot that slipped under Raya’s weak attempted save.
But Arsenal quickly leveled again just three minutes later through Havertz, who poked home from close range after Jesus demonstrated impressive strength to hold off his marker before finding the German’s run.
Demonstrating the determination of potential champions, Arsenal continued pushing for the winner and completed their spirited fightback in the seventh minute of stoppage time.
Rice met Martin Odegaard’s cross with a glancing header that nestled in the far corner, prompting Arteta to dance a jig of delight on the touchline.
In Tuesday’s other game, Hwang Hee-chan secured the Wolves’ 1-0 victory against Burnley at Molineux.
Hwang settled the affair with his ninth goal of the season when he netted in the 42nd minute, teed up by Matheus Cunha after Burnley surrendered possession too easily.
Burnley stays second bottom after an eighth defeat in their last nine games, while Wolves, who secured their first clean sheet since August, climb to 12th place.