Rice: ‘West Ham did not look like a top-four team vs Arsenal’

Jason Soutar
Declan Rice pointing during a match

Declan Rice has slammed West Ham’s performance at Arsenal, insisting it was ‘nowhere near the level required to be a top-four team’.

Wednesday night’s loss at the Emirates Stadium put the Gunners into the Champions League places at the Hammers’ expense.

The north Londoners stripped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the captaincy earlier this week, but put the off-field drama to the side to convincingly win the match 2-0.

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West Ham struggled to get a foothold in the game, only managing one shot on target all evening.

Rice has criticised the team’s performance, blaming the defeat on the “bad decisions” they made “across the pitch”.

“Not good enough tonight,” the England midfielder said (quotes via the Daily Mail). “Nowhere near the level that’s required to be a top-four team.

“You can’t come to a place like Arsenal and let them impose the game on you like we did tonight.

“We just made bad decisions across the pitch, really. Giving the ball away cheaply, taking too many touches, not putting the ball in the box, [being] soft, not making tactical fouls. Just all round, a night off it.”

“We had a little spell in the first half where we were getting in down the sides of them,” he added.

“What we’ve been lacking recently is putting crosses in the box and then actually putting the ball in the back of the net and again tonight it showed.

“Second half they scored a great goal from Martinelli and [from] Smith Rowe, and obviously we didn’t have the cutting edge to score or bring one back.”

Meanwhile, Ian Wright has criticised Michail Antonio’s performance against Arsenal.

Antonio looked isolated for much of the match and was ineffective as the lone striker. He has now gone 13 matches in all competitions without scoring.

“He needs to hold those and let people come support him,” he told Optus Sport (via HITC). “That’s one of the inexperience of being a centre-forward.

“He’s very good at it but in these instances you think to yourself okay just turn now and let people come out and keep it. This is where West Ham are falling short because he’s not actually helping the team at all.”