Declan Rice was defeated on his return to West Ham with Arsenal
Declan Rice has been doing well in his debut season with Arsenal | AFP/HENRY NICHOLLS AFP News

Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice rescued his side with an injury-time winner against Luton Town in a seven-goal thriller on Tuesday.

Arsenal nearly dropped points at Kenilworth Road, following two terrible errors from Mikel Arteta's goalkeeper David Raya. But Rice emerged as the Gunners' hero with his dramatic 97th-minute winner to take Arsenal home 4-3.

The defensive midfielder collected a cross from Martin Odegaard and planted a header past Luton goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski. Rice scored the winner 23 seconds after the added six minutes post the official 90-minute mark had expired, leaving the visiting fans stoked.

Watch - Declan Rice's winning goal

Rice deservedly received heaps of praise from boss Arteta at the end of the game at Luton.

"He [Rice] had an incredible game again; the leadership, the quality that he's showing every week and every game, he's getting better and better and then he has this capacity when he goes in the opponent's box, he's got that smell and ability to put the ball in the back of the net," said Arteta at the post-match conference.

An overjoyed Arteta said it was a "special night" but also credited the home side for putting up such a fine competition and creating an "incredible atmosphere".

"I really enjoyed [it], especially the end. The incredible thing about football, the emotions and the moments that you live together with a lot of people. It was a special night. Credit to Luton for the incredible atmosphere they created, the way they played, the way they were coached, they made life really difficult for us, but we found a win," added Arteta.

The Spanish boss also praised Arsenal for showing "resilience, character and quality" and that indicated how much they wanted to leave with three points.

The Premier League leaders started the game on a high when Gabriel Martinelli ended Bukayo Saka's pass into the bottom-left corner. Five minutes later, Gabriel Osho's header from Alfie Doughty's corner brought Luton level. Just before the end of the first half, Gabriel Jesus put a Ben White cross from close range at the back of the net as they returned to lead at the half-time break.

The second half began rather chaotically. Luton fought back twice in a span of a few minutes. The Hatters looked to be closing to a rare victory when Elijah Adebayo and Ross Barkley scored in eight minutes after the break, with Arsenal goalkeeper Raya responsible for both goals.

Fortunately for Arsenal, they revived their momentum towards the end when Kai Havertz spurred in from an excellent pass from Jesus to equalise. While Luton still looked to have had at least a point in hand, Rice's heroics for the Gunners ruined the party for the hosts.

Arteta backs goalkeeper David Raya

Arteta, meanwhile, backed his first-choice goalkeeper, Raya. He said they have never played the blame game and he was just glad with the way his side responded to the setbacks they suffered throughout the game.

"We have to defend better the situations as a team. Certain things are leading to the goals and it's not about blaming, we have never done it, and we're not going to do it now. It's about how the team reacts to that because it will happen, and I love that response," said Arteta.

The 4-3 result means Luton is in 17th place in the Premier League table, two points above the relegation zone. With 36 points from 15 matches, Arsenal are five points clear of second-placed Liverpool, who play their game in hand at Sheffield United on Wednesday. Manchester City, in the third spot, are due to take on fourth-placed Aston Villa.

Arteta's side has now won their previous six games in all competitions and their next game is on Saturday when they travel to West Midlands to face off against Aston Villa.