Arsenal Vs Luton – Six minutes of extra time were almost over when Rice found space to head home, bringing joy to the visitors and heartbreak to a fearless Luton side. “Luton are a top team and they cannot be overlooked in this tournament because of the quality they have,” Rice told Amazon Prime. “Scoring in the last minute and keeping the momentum going was very important for us. Those are the moments you look back on. What a game. To score the winner is an honor.”
There was little to hint at the thriller ahead in a low-key opening 20 minutes on a raw night at Kenilworth Road, but the game exploded into life when Gabriel Martinelli’s scuffed shot from Bukayo Saka’s pass put Arsenal ahead. Luton responded five minutes later with Gabriel Osho powering a header past David Raya from Alfie Doughty’s corner. Saka and Martinelli were both denied by saves from Thomas Kaminski, but Arsenal went ahead again just before the break with Gabriel Jesus heading in Ben White’s dinked cross.
Arsenal had not won at Luton since 1986 and they were rocked on their heels as first Elijah Adebayo headed in another corner in the 49th minute before Andros Townsend played in fellow former England international Ross Barkley eight minutes later to drill a low shot underneath Raya, who endured a difficult night.
Raya should have done better for Luton’s second and third goals, but his blushes were spared by his teammates. The old stadium was rocking to its foundations, but Luton’s joy was cut short as Kai Havertz squared it up on the hour from a Jesus pass. Rice then left the hosts in despair as Arsenal again showed their penchant for late goals.
They have now taken nine points this season courtesy of goals in the last five minutes of games. “Incredible evening. First of all, congratulations to Luton, their players, staff, the atmosphere they created made it a special night to play football and they made it very hard for us,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said.
“They are so good at set pieces and they made us fight for the game and at the end it was a beautiful win.”