Declan Rice endured a difficult return to the London Stadium as Arsenal were well beaten by West Ham (Picture: Getty)
The England international joined the Gunners in the summer following a club-record £105million transfer and has already justified that fee with a series of commanding displays.
Rice started on the bench last night on his first appearance back at the London Stadium since his move but watched on powerless and his old side powered into a two-goal lead.
Mikel Arteta thrust his midfield linchpin into action shortly before the hour mark but the game was ended as a contest almost immediately when Jarod Bowen’s deflected shot put the result beyond doubt.
Rice was booed by a smattering of West Ham supporters but he ignored the jibes to send his old club a conglatulatory message on Instagram.
He said: ‘Despite the result, loved being back at the stadium and seeing so many familiar faces.
‘Thank you West Ham fans for the reception. Will be forever grateful to all of you. Wish you all nothing but the best for the future for the rest of the season. See you soon!’
Arsenal will hope to bounce back at Newcastle on Saturday evening but will need a much improved performance from his players.
Arteta made six changes to the Arsenal side that lost in east London but his starting XI still boasted nine full internationals.
One of the most experienced of those, Italy midfielder Jorginho, captained the visitors and he is pleased they can attempt to quickly bounce back from the defeat as they travel to face Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday evening.
‘It’s great that the game is in three days because it’s a chance to turn things around, and turn this feeling because it’s not the best feeling, of course,’ he said.
‘We can go and try to put things right. The only thing we can take from this tough result is how we need to be much better at competing for the next game, because if you’re going to play at this level, you won’t win for sure.
‘So that’s what I think we need to improve on for the next game to try and win there.’
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It was a night to forget for the former Hammer.