Declan Rice stats show he would a brilliant upgrade on Xhaka for Arsenal

As per the Daily Telegraph’s Luke Edwards, Declan Rice’s Arsenal move could be a bid away, as he feels the midfielder and Arsenal may have “secretly” agreed to the transfer.

“Arsenal are supposedly and have been quite like Real Madrid with Bellingham; they’ve supposedly got this deal verbally agreed with somebody that he’ll come to Arsenal, but West Ham are being sensible; they realise he won’t sign a new contract, and they’re trying to maximise what they will get for him, and I’ve heard them looking for as much as £150m for him,” said Edwards on the BBC Radio Five Live Football Daily Podcast.

Let’s say Arsenal brings him on board; he could replace Granit Xhaka in the starting 11. If he does replace the departing Swiss international, who will benefit more from his arrival? Martin Odegaard, who else? The Arsenal skipper is just coming off a resurgent season at Arsenal; he managed 15 goals and seven assists. Many expect him to continue soaring next term, and what a great opportunity he would have to do so playing alongside Rice.

If Odegaard could thrive playing alongside Xhaka, he could go to greater heights alongside Rice, considering the West Ham midfield is an upgrade for the Swiss international. While in 37 games last season, Xhaka only managed 10 blocks, 15 interceptions, 34 tackles (27 being successful), 41 clearances, and 19 headed clearances,

Rice, in the same number of games, bettered his stats as he had 15 blocks and 63 interceptions, 79 tackles (38 being successful), 55 clearances, and 32 headed clearances. Looking at those numbers, the West Ham man could make the difference in the Arsenal engine room.

Odegaard will only focus on attacking with the Hammer on board, continuing to develop as a playmaker and thereby taking his own play to another level….

Now the season is over, it’s time for the summer Arsenal quiz from our friends at Dublin Arsenal – It’s always a laugh and helps while away the time while we wait for Arsenal’s first signings to come in!

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Tags Declan Rice Granit Xhaka Martin Odegaard


  1. Looking at those stats Rice is clearly the better player, although Xhaka scored more goals than Declan. Many people seem to be not convinced that Rice is as good as he actually is and I really don’t understand why, because IF we get him he will be a massive player for us.
    Reading between the lines, sometimes I feel there are political reasons as to why certain people don’t like him, but although I know exactly what I mean by that, I wouldn’t wish to open a can of worms. The guy is just very good and that’s all there is to it. Would be great to get him AND Caciedo but unlikely because together they will cost a fortune which we will probably not pay.

    1. As good as Rice is made out to be, we should not forget that
      1. Xhaka scored and assisted more than Rice last season. The author seemed to ignore that
      2. Xhaka played in a more advanced role than Rice therefore putting Rice in a more defensive position to make more tackles, interceptions, etc
      3. Rice plays in a West Ham which is more terrible than us and have more defending to do. Whereas we always have the ball and therefore less need for Xhaka to make defensive contributions

      1. All very good points and I took all those things into consideration before my post. Still came to the conclusion that Rice will be an improvement. Yes it would be nice for him to be involved in more goals and assists, but I think he is better defensively and has a better engine than Xhaka.
        That comment you made is quite interestingly phrased: “plays in a West Ham which is more terrible than us”. Do you feel we are more “terrible” than good ?

        1. Because there’s no sch thing as a perfect team, we can say that City is terrible, we’re more terrible than them and West Ham is the most terrible of the three.
          Positive, comparative and superlative. It’s just a play of words 😁

  2. Slowly, I am coming to think thrlikelihood is NOW, that Rice IS MORE LIKELY TO COME THAN TO US , THAN HE IS NOT TO. Please if you are reading this post, do not misinterpret ny carefully chosen words.
    I think it MORE LIKELY, but that does NOT mean I think it certain It will come down to a game of bluff between Rice andWest Ham, since I think United will outbid us.

    But IMO he WANTS to come to us, not to them and will threaten to run down his contract unless they relent. .

    So THAT is the game of bluff, or poker, I refer to. I give us around a 60% chance of winning it, but still at huge cost and that will certainly effect our other spendings.

  3. Following EG ‘s post I agree with him that Rice is TRUE TOP CLASS, both as a player AND as a human being.

    He is EXACTLY the type of person I would LOVE to see at our club.

    1. Thankyou Jon. You really know how to make a mere lad, like myself, feel like a real MAN.
      Your pep talks would have gone down well at Agincourt !
      All joking aside it is nice that such telling statistics have been produced as real evidence of Rice’s abilities.
      As an aside, did you see the American guy’s post and question to you about British press ?

      1. Ev, And you know how to make a 71 year old feel six centuries older!
        Blimey Ev, Agincourt was back in1415 and I cant even remember , nor was born , when Alex James starred for us in the thirties!
        And which American guy do you refer to and on which thread.?
        BTW, if we do sign Rice, I reckon it will be our most EXCITING signing since Henry.

        And not Henry the Fifth either.

        1. Jon – weren’t you in charge of the bowmen ?
          I can’t remember the thread the American guy was on but Jax and I gave him some feedback.
          Basically he wanted to know which football writers in Britain are worth reading. He responded to your comments about the Metro being a laughable paper when it comes to football journalism.

  4. These are cherry picked stats if I’ve ever seen them. Arsenal have far more of the ball than whu so how can you compare how many tackles, interceptions etc? It’s commonly done with defenders, but these stats will naturally depend on how much defending they have to do – it might not be that much if they’re in a very strong side, or it might be a great deal of they’re in a weaker side.
    I was hoping to see something relating to passing ability – however that would probably make xhaka appear the better player (which also might not be fair because of the aforementioned differences between their teams).
    And I don’t think rice being a good ball winner would *necessarily* help odegaard – what would help odegaard more *might* be a player who supports the attack better than xhaka – a player who makes himself available for passes either in the build up or in the box, or one who can more consistently find odegaard in space.
    Not saying I think rice would be bad, just not a fan of this kind of analysis.

    1. Good points Davi.Forgetting the stats issue,will Arteta have to consider adjusting his favoured inverted set up to accommodate Rice who operates as the left sided central midfielder for West Ham and England, with a conventional left back wide of him.Presumably this question will be raised if and when discussions take place between the parties concerned but when Zinchenko goes walk about, will Rice be asked to cover, or will be be asked to play a more advanced role like Xhaka did last season?

      1. Davi & Grandad, this is a good discussion and I have answered dgr8xt following his similar assessment of Rice. The fact that Rice IS more defensively competent is the very reason he will be better for us. He is also more energetic than Xhaka, got a better “engine” and he’s probably nowhere near as good now as he is going to get.
        I took into consideration that playing for a struggling team has it’s benefits when it comes to the type of stats that were produced. Nonetheless, Rice will be a massive improvement for us IF we get him. It’s a new day and Rice is a modern player for today’s tough world in the PL. It’s a shame we may not get him. By the way Grandad, did you ever see Duncan Edwards. I was too young to see him play but I get the impression he may have been a Declan Rice type. Would that be an accurate comparison ?

        1. I did see Duncan Edwards, but not in the flesh.Had he not been tragically lost, he may well have gone on to be the finest English player of all time.He was a left footed, “left half” as we called it way back in the fifties and sixties and he was simply a collosos .Fellow oldies like Ken and JF may also have seen him play for the Busby Babes, a team of wonderful young players who could have achieved so much together.I remember being so impressed by Edwards and the left back Roger Byrne who did not survive the crash.Life can be cruel.

        2. I think that’s getting a bit carried away – it’s possible but if rice was that kind of player, I don’t think west ham would have struggled so much.
          That said, I never saw Duncan Edwards – my impression is that he was something like Bryan Robson – physically dominant but also technically proficient central midfielder who could do it all really. I assume Duncan Edwards was considered to be something like that, just better.
          Rice is far more limited from what I’ve seen – physically dominant, yes, and he’s capable of going on a run due to his pace and strength, but when it comes to passing and close control, I don’t think he’s anything too special.
          I saw an interesting video analysing how he plays and how that would fit at arsenal, and they reckoned he would be great because he has extremely good awareness to read the game and know exactly where to be to stop an attack and very quickly start a counter. They thought he’d be brilliant for stopping a counter from the opposition, and quickly starting one in return (they kept mentioning that favourite word ‘transition’). Could be that he’d be a great signing for that, but I’m always suspicious of players who don’t impress me with their first touch and close control at the level we’re talking about.. I just think of the great midfielders we’ve seen at arsenal and in this league, and those abilities always stood out to me – Patrick vieira’s first touch was outstanding, for example, not a million miles from Dennis. And if we’re paying top dollar, that’s the level I’d want – but if we got him and he made a big difference I would soon forget tbf.

          1. Davi, Jon and especially Grandad, I too am not impressed with stats generally and I posted about that a couple of days ago, but the stats provided today were worthwhile noting.
            Davi it sounds a bit like you have doubts about Rice. I would never compare him in any way with P.Vieira, Bergkamp or any highly skilled player of that ilk, because he’s not as good as they are. What I see in him is someone in today’s football that would be a massive asset to us. Of course his price is inflated.
            I was alive when Duncan Edwards died but was too young to have any recollection.

            1. I have doubts that he’s worth the money (I’d want him to be as good as Vieira for 100m) and he might not be “my kind of midfielder” but I’m becoming convinced he’d end up doing very well here if he joined.

              1. In an ideal world the guy would be the very best player around, but he is “available” and we could do with what he has to offer. Let’s face it, who is worth that kind of money anyway ? I was always reticent of such overblown prices, but what it is, is what it is. For me he is an energetic player who can attack and defend very well. The most important thing I see in him is his physicality and defensive instincts. I’m old school and feel that he or Caciedo will make us better defensvely and that’s what we need, becoming more difficult to score against.
                Our offensive players will take care of the rest.
                I would like to see 1-0, 2-0 results again.

      2. From I understand from the video I mentioned in the other comment, rice would be ideal for covering positions left by wandering fullbacks. It seems they believed his positional awareness was one of his best assets, maybe his best (his ‘superpower’?) – so I don’t think that would be a problem. It may indeed be the reason we’re apparently so interested!

    2. DAVI, ON STATS, I am with you and with Grandad, who constantly says stats are overblown.
      I agree and regret to see how unthinkingly many even brighter posters use them slavishly, without mentioning the important CONTEXT that you did, so sensibly.

      They are merely an aid, WHEN used sensibly, but eyes and brain are far superior, IMO.

      When not used sensibly, they frequently paint a very false picture.

  5. The writer must realise that positionally, we are not comparing like with like.As befits a youngster who served his apprenticeship as a centre back, Rice is much superior defensively and his athleticism is way beyond Xhaka, who’s lack of pace has always been his main weakness..If Arteta intends to carry on with Zinchenko as an inverted LB,Rice may have to adjust his current role with West Ham where he is the left sided central midfielder with a convential left back side of him.Presumably Arteta has fully evaluated the pros and cons of investing heavily in Rice but is he prepared to adjust his preferred set up to accommodate Rice or for that matter Caecedo?

  6. I think what the author is missing is that majority of Arsenal fans agree that Declan is good but not 100M+ good. For that money, we need a game changer that will take the team to the promise land. We need about 5 new good players and if we spend 100m+ of Rice, there won’t be enough to buy the rest of the players that are needed. IMO we can go for caicedo and Onana and try ESR in Xhaka’s position

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