Arsenal

Arsenal star ‘so unlucky’ at Aston Villa after ‘clever’ moment, says BBC pundit

BBC pundit Michael Brown claims Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice was ‘so unlucky’ at Aston Villa this Saturday when his ‘really clever’ free-kick fell into Emiliano Martinez.

Referee Jarred Gillett awarded Arsenal a free-kick around 22 yards out from Aston Villa’s net in the 69th minute. John McGinn, who had broken the deadlock early in the first half, fouled Martin Odegaard. But Rice could not find an equaliser when he, finally, stepped up to shoot.

It took Gillett two minutes to allow Rice to take his free-kick on the edge of Martinez’s box in Birmingham. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta used the break in play to substitute Leandro Trossard on for Gabriel Martinelli. The forward had worked tirelessly in search of the equalising goal.

Declan Rice was ‘really clever’ with the Arsenal star’s free-kick at Aston Villa

Rice tried to outsmart Aston Villa when the 24-year-old eventually got to take Arsenal’s free-kick. The midfielder anticipated the Villans’ wall jumping in expectation of an effort over the top. But his attempt to go low failed to work out as Rice’s strike hit Trossard behind the wall.

Trossard sought to lurk behind the Villans’ wall just in case Rice’s free-kick rebounded to the 29-year-old. But he did not have enough time to react to the shot creeping through. Instead, the Belgian took the sting out of Rice’s shot and diverted the ball toward Martinez to collect.

Michael Brown feels Declan Rice was ‘so unlucky’ with his free-kick

Had the free-kick crept in or fell more kindly for Trossard to collect, Rice could have emerged as Arsenal’s hero at Aston Villa. It would have also been his second successive match as the saviour. The 48-cap England star was also at the rescue with their late winner at Luton Town.

Yet while Rice’s free-kick did not work out, former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Brown felt sorry for the Arsenal star at Aston Villa. He felt the West Ham United product was unlucky to not see his fast thinking pay off, having shown his intelligence to try and catch Martinez out.

“This is so unlucky,” Brown told BBC Radio 5 Live. “They knew the wall was going to jump. He’s drilled it low under the wall and he’s hit the man blocking him behind it. Really clever.”

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