Saturday, February 24, 2024

Declan Rice on beating Sevilla, his favoured position and Arteta’s passion

Arsenal edged closer to qualification from Champions League Group B with a comprehensive 2-0 win over Sevilla at Emirates Stadium.

Leandro Trossard, standing in for the injured Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah, scored the opener following a tidy assist by Bukayo Saka and the England international doubled the Gunners’ advantage just past the hour mark to make sure of the three points on a night when the visitors mustered just one shot on target.

After the game, Declan Rice spoke to TNT Sports. Here’s what he had to say.

On the game…

It was good. Obviously a tough game. We knew what Sevilla were like. Obviously, we played there 10 days ago, so we knew what to expect. But we knew tonight was a big night, you know, our second Champions League game [at home], and we knew we had to get three points on the board. So that was key.

On getting back to winning ways…

After the upset in the [Carabao] cup, and then obviously on the weekend [against Newcastle], in a club like Arsenal, we can’t be losing three games in a row. And the manager made that clear before the game. He said we need to get back to winning ways and put in a high energetic performance. Sometimes when you’re playing against a back five, it’s hard to break down, but in the end we kept persisting and we’ve come through.

On his own form…

I’ve just been taking it game by game. I know it might sound boring but I literally have. Every time I put on the shirt, I try to come and play and if I start well, I know I’m going to go on to have a good game. That’s the confidence I’ve got at the minute, whether I’m playing as a six, whether I’m playing as an eight, I want to do the best I can for the team. There’s so much more I can still add. It’s been a good start. And yeah, it’s going to be a long season ahead as well so I’m looking forward to it still.

On whether he prefers playing as a six or an eight…

To be honest, I think my best position is probably six. That’s where I probably feel most comfortable. As an eight, I do get a bit excited to dribble with the ball. Obviously, when I’m playing there, it’s my job to try and create, but that’s not my biggest strength. My biggest strength is what you said, breaking up the play, taking the ball from deep, trying to dictate. But every time Mikel says you’re playing eight you know I do get excited because I get to make those runs into the box, I get to run with the ball, I get to show that other side of my game which is really good, and at the moment we’re so short with injuries.

On having energy…

Yeah, I didn’t stop running tonight.

On whether Arsenal can get excited for the knockout stages…

Yeah, I think we can. You know, our next game here is at home and then obviously PSV away. So there’s a lot to look forward to. Obviously our aim was always to get into the knockout stages. We’re close to that now and obviously once you get into that, that’s when it all begins again. That’s how you push on and stay focused.

On Arteta’s reaction to the Newcastle game…

Yeah, we love it. I think you see how passionate he is. I think he sometimes gets criticised for how he is on the sidelines, but, you know, he’s living the game through us. He’s so energetic and the way he speaks, he’s like a teacher in the changing room and that really fires us up for the game and I think that’s what he’s really really good at.

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PGunner

I heart Rice

Fezec

I have to say, I thought Rice was decent before he signed. But I thought £100m was insane.

I was right. He’s worth £200m!

What a fucking player.

PatJ

He is such a great player. Obviously.

wrightstuff8

Still need to pinch myself Decs a gooner! What a great night that was. Lovely stuff. COYG!!!!

Ebo

Tim Stillman reposted a really interesting video on twitter with some dude giving a tactical analysis explaining how a lot of the issues we’ve had creating chances from midfield this season are because of the change from Partey to Rice, who isn’t as good as at receiving the ball on the half turn and finding the quick outlet forward before the defense can get set. Honestly that’s probably the only thing still missing from his game… can it be learned do you think? In every other aspect of the game he’s basically a perfect DM.

mjc1892

I think (obviously my opinion means very little) it definitely can be learned. He’s already infinitely quicker at progressing play than when he first arrived, he just lacks a bit of the guile and ingenuity that Partey has. I think it’ll come.

BillyKrystal

Partey is so good at disguising those line breaking passes. That and his little turns into space are his super powers. Rice is perfectly capable of adding that. He seems to get better with each game. A truly imperious player. Not just a rolls Royce player but Land Rover, John Deere, Sherman tank mixed in

Snc

Despite playing with different players in tt midfield, Declan didn’t disappoint. In fact he looked very settled. Hoping we sort that other side of midfield. Wish we didn’t let xhaka go. Declan and xhaka will eat everyone up including tt low thug bruno.

Cliff Bastin

“We can’t lose 3 games in a row.” Ouucchhhhh 🤣

Mark

What a class act all around. I agree his best position is the 6 as he is so dominant there, but he also does great at the 8. Would love to have seen a midfield with Xhaka and Odegaard in front of him. Hopefully we can find someone to come in (either through transfer or someone already in the squad) and take over the left 8 position so Rice can move back to the 6.

Reality check

We’re normally without both Partey and Xhaka in midfield and today, even Ode was missing, this was inconceivable last season. We’d be 8th in the league if it wasn’t for Decs and struggling to qualify from the group stage. Shout out to Kai for bringing the nasty out the past couple of weeks. He is not producing but he’s also not backing away from the challenge.

Gunner1971

Arsenal legend in the making!

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