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Mikel Arteta to unleash exceptional Arsenal star against West Ham on Sunday

Arsenal will travel to the London Stadium to face West Ham for the third time this season, and one star player could be key for Mikel Arteta

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta
Image credit: Getty Images

Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice is gearing up for a crucial return to the London Stadium this Sunday, aiming to rewrite the narrative of his previous disappointing homecoming. 

The £105million man faced a bitter reception during his last visit in November, enduring a 3-1 Carabao Cup defeat as Arsenal crashed out against West Ham.

Rice was met with taunts from the West Ham faithful, with chants of “You should have signed for a big club” echoing through the stadium. Despite mixed reactions, including both boos and applause from different sections of the crowd, Rice left with a sour taste from his first return to his former stomping ground.

This time around, Rice and Arsenal are determined to clinch victory, aiming to make a bold statement about their title aspirations following a stellar 3-1 triumph against Liverpool last weekend. 

READ MORE: Mikel Arteta reveals Arsenal star is always hungry for more, never satisfied

Speaking at his pre-match conference on Friday ahead of the game, Arteta spoke on Rice’s relationship with West Ham supporters and emphasised the mutual respect between the player and his former club.

Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice

Declan Rice is ready to face West Ham for the third time this season since his departure in the summer (Image credit: Getty Images)

“It depends and I always say that when you come back it is very difficult because the opponents are focused on giving support to their own team. As well, I’ve seen so much appreciation from the club when he left, what they did for him and the way people talk about him. That’s very important as well.”

The match holds added significance for Arsenal, as they seek redemption from the painful memories of the previous season’s fixture, where they squandered a two-goal lead to settle for a 2-2 draw, denting their title hopes.

Mikel Arteta is known for leveraging past setbacks as motivation for his players, and the collapse against West Ham last season is likely to serve as a rallying cry in the team’s preparation for the upcoming clash. Rice’s role in Arsenal’s resurgence cannot be overstated. Since his transfer from West Ham, the England midfielder has consistently delivered stellar performances, silencing any doubts surrounding his hefty price tag.

Rice’s ability to shine in high-stakes fixtures has been evident, with important goals against opponents such as Chelsea and Manchester United. His commanding presence in midfield has been instrumental in Arsenal’s victories against formidable opponents, including a memorable triumph over Manchester City in October.

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