Arsenal now have Rice ‘cleaning up’ in Man City title race as Arteta eyes glory

Arteta impressed by Gabriel Jesus as Arsenal defeat Sevilla

Former Chelsea and Manchester City winger Shaun Wright-Phillips has hailed the £105million summer signing of Declan Rice by Arsenal, who he believes will be vital if the Gunners are to go one step further than last season and beat Pep Guardiola’s side to the Premier League title.

Both City and Arsenal were vying for the former West Ham captain’s signature, but Mikel Arteta’s improved offer sealed the deal as they landed a new foundation for their midfield. The England man has already showcased his abilities at the Emirates, while sending supporters into raptures with his stoppage-time winner in Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over Manchester United in September.

Having hit the back of the net twice in nine league games, Wright-Phillips believes that Rice’s goals are a bonus to his stellar performances which involves “cleaning up” in midfield. With Thomas Partey suffering from injuries once again this season, there is a further reliance on Rice but he is rising to the occasion.

“For me, Declan Rice was a massive buy,” Wright-Phillips told Betway. “If you look at, say, City’s team, he would be in there as well. He’s added a lot of goals to his game. I think he was called out at a point last season saying he doesn’t get enough goals, and in my opinion I was like: ‘I don’t really care if my defensive midfielder gets goals, as long as he cleans up and does the job he’s meant to’.

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“But he’s taken on all the criticism and he’s now getting goals – and crucial goals, game-changing goals – and also controlling games, playing well, being in the right position, cleaning up. I think he’s a massive plus to the Arsenal team right now. If they are going to go for the title this year, I think he’s going to be a key to them doing that.”

Rice has taken to Arsenal like a duck to water, fitting seamlessly into a midfield that has seen constant changes throughout the campaign as he and captain Martin Odegaard have been paired with Partey, Jorginho, Kai Havertz and Fabio Vieira at times.

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The 24-year-old explained that it was Arteta who helped make up his mind and head to north London, as opposed to Manchester. When asked how he made the call, Rice told Channel 4: “I have to say the manager, Mikel.

“I think just from the moment that I met him I knew he was the one I wanted to take of the next part of my career. Just the way he spoke, his aurora, the way he sees the game, the way he wants to play football, and I think we’ve seen Arsenal the way they’ve played the last two years, the way they’ve played as a team I really see myself fitting in.

“So far that decision has paid off. I feel really at home. I’ve always had that gut feeling that Arsenal would be the club from the moment I walked in up until now.”

Arsenal’s new kit for 2023/2024 is a stylish twist on a classic as it reinvents that mid-1990s vibe. A truly modern-looking shirt with a homage to the past, the Nike kit also includes a nod to the club’s iconic Invincible’s side in the finer details while catching the eye with the lightning bolt motif

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