Mikel Arteta has praised West Ham fans for their welcome to Declan Rice, despite large sections behind him booing him.
The midfielder was arguably Arsenal’s most impressive player in an emphatic 6-0 win over the Hammers at the London Stadium.
As well as registering two assists for the first time in the Premier League, Rice scored the Gunners’ sixth goal of the afternoon with a superb curling effort into the top corner of the net.
That was followed by a mix of boos and cheers when Rice was replaced moments later.
The £105m signing from Arsenal angered large sections from the start, with West Ham fans booing his every touch for the first half of the match.
While some cheers could be heard for the former West Ham captain, the reception given to Rice was mixed to say the least, although Arteta was keen to pay tribute to their warm welcome.
“It’s always difficult to come back to your old club,” Arteta said. “The fans were really nice to him [Rice].
“When he went to take the corner they applauded him so it’s great to see that kind of reception.
“He loves this club so much and I know what it meant for him to play today.
“We must share the objectives. This desire and this commitment to enter the box to make things happen was excellent.