'Rice is the difference for Arsenal'

Declan Rice stats against Bournemouth graphic

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright says Declan Rice is thriving in his role alongside Thomas Partey as it allows him to move forward more with the ball.

Rice scored and assisted in Saturday's win over Bournemouth with a player-of-the-match display in a game which kept alive the Gunners' dream of a first Premier League title in 20 years.

"He is the difference for Arsenal in respects of being able to play any of those positions in the midfield," Wright told Match of the Day. "He finds himself in any situation and is able to deal with it.

"He was all over the place. People were talking about whether he can play in a possession-based midfield - of course he can.

"Will he score enough goals? We're seeing that now. Especially playing with someone like Thomas Partey - it releases Rice. Partey stays back and Rice moves forward, progressing the ball.

"When you see where Kai Havertz is you need someone attacking the box because that's one of the big problems for Arsenal. With Declan playing where he is in that 8 position to get into the box, to crash the box - he's getting in there, he's trying to get his goals.

"He's got the capability, the skill, the strength, and is exceptional at running with the ball. He's proper box-to-box.

"What Arsenal are doing is a lot down to Rice. He has been unbelievable this season."

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