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Mikel Arteta reveals "strange" reason he substituted Declan Rice at half-time against Spurs

Mikel Arteta reveals "strange" reason he substituted Declan Rice at half-time against Spurs

Declan Rice was taken off at half-time in Arsenal's 2-2 draw with North London rivals Spurs.

Mikel Arteta has revealed the "strange" reason why Declan Rice was taken off at half-time of the 2-2 draw with Spurs.

Rice has been an ever-present player for Arsenal since his British record £105 million move from West Ham in the summer, starting all six games this season and seamlessly slotting into midfield.

But he was substituted at the Emirates on Sunday in a double substitution which also saw Fabio Vieira hooked and both Jorginho and Kai Havertz enter the fray.

It was suggested that Rice had a calf problem after he was seen with a bandage on that area of his leg.

However, Arteta explained the situation - disclosing that Rice was struggling with his back and the pain meant he could not continue beyond the first half.

"Rice had some discomfort in his back," Arteta had said in his post-match press conference, as per Metro.

"He was telling us during the first half he was not comfortable.

"Hopefully he won’t be out or any period of time but it’s strange that a player like him has to come off. So we’ll see."

The issue would explain why Rice didn't appear his usual dominant self in the middle of the park during the first half.

The England international's injury record one of the best around, but Arsenal will be hoping he can make a quick recovery.

Arsenal have a mounting injury list at the moment, with Leandro Trossard a new addition with a slight muscle issue.

Jurrien Timber, Gabriel Martinelli and Thomas Partey are also all out injured and there are fears for Bukayo Saka after the goalscorer was taken off in the second half.

The Arsenal No.7 had screamed in agony when Destiny Udogie had landed on him awkwardly.

However, Fabio Vieira's withdrawal was not because of injury. Arteta commented: "No, Fabio wasn’t injured, that was a tactical decision".

Featured Image Credit: Getty & talkSPORT

Topics: Mikel Arteta, Arsenal, Declan Rice, Tottenham Hotspur