Victory at the Emirates will have given Mikel Arteta satisfaction as games like this slipped away from Arsenal late last season

Perhaps the best part of Declan Rice’s day, his first big Emirates Stadium afternoon, was the fact that for the opening 95 minutes of this tight, taut, occasionally turgid game, Arsenal didn’t play that well.

Rice didn’t play that well, not really, by his best, most regal, long‑striding – sports writers do love a stride – midfield standards. Instead, he was tethered for long periods, ratting in the deep spaces, fighting to cover a position‑and‑a‑half in midfield, where Kai Havertz was again a spectral entity, only partially present in the material world.

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