Ex-Arsenal star insists Mikel Arteta is wasting Declan Rice in the number 8 role

Former Arsenal star Emmanuel Petit believes Mikel Arteta is not using Declan Rice in the right position.

Rice has been one of the best signings in the Premier League this season and stands out in every Arsenal match.

The Englishman has been superb since he moved to the club and fans are happy with his performance.

Even in games that the Gunners fail to win, the former West Ham man stands out as one of the top players for the team.

However, Petit seems to believe he can do even better if he is fielded in the right position. He insists playing as a number 8 is simply a waste of Rice’s talents.

He said, as quoted by the Daily Mail:

‘Declan Rice’s priority for Arsenal should be to maintain the balance of the side and to win the ball back for his team. 

‘He does those things so well. I think he is wasted a bit in that number 8 role where Xhaka played last season because he is such a brilliant holding midfielder.

‘You cannot ask him to play how Xhaka played last year because that’s not his position.’

Just Arsenal Opinion

Rice is the best midfielder in the team now, which suggests he is doing well in the group.

Arteta specifically asked for the signing of the England star and we trust that he knows the best role for Rice.

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Tags Declan Rice Emmanuel Petit


  1. I don’t get this perspective because Rice has played at both 6 and 8 ;it’s not like he’s exclusively played 8 . Furthermore,injuries in the midfield area have meant that Rice has had to play both due to limited options.

  2. I see it completely the opposite. He’s a brilliant defensive player, but not technically amazing; the latter prevents him from being a great holding midfielder, because a great holding midfielder should also be a playmaker, not just a stopper.
    He does have a great engine, though, so playing him in the holding role actually wastes that side of his game, whereas he can make the most of it in his ‘8’ role.
    I do think he can and will get better in an attacking sense, but he’s already our most consistent and probably best player (certainly one of them), even though it’s still early days.

    1. So what do you make of his assist against Sheffield given your bizzare “not technically amazing to be a DM” claim.

      1. That was a nice pass, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
        I’m saying he’s not great at turning and working in tight spaces – he’s not bad, he’s just not elite in that area. He’s not like partey. And you need that for the holding role in a team like ours, because the position is at least as much about finding ways to beat tough presses and instigating attacks as it is about protecting the defence and winning the ball back.
        Bizarre? If rice was technically amazing he’d likely be the best midfielder in the world *by far* right now and he’s not that. Very, very good from what I’ve seen so far, but not that.

  3. I agree completely with Petit, Declan runs towards the bye line too often when with the ball which makes no sense to me as an attacking midfielders cos that should be meant for wingers/FBs as it’s of no effectiveness to the team nor creates an opportunity for him. His operation as an 8 is of little to no use at all therefore. it’s best he operates at DM his best suited role.

    1. 8 isn’t an attacking midfielder, it’s a box to box role. The way the team operates is too try to create ‘overloads’ in different areas, so we’ll often crowd an the left wing area so we try to can slip martinelli or the CF behind the defence. When it doesn’t work, we’ll tend to go back to the defence and rebuild, but occasionally players, like rice, will switch the play. I think what you’re observing is how rice has been instructed to play, more or less, he’s just better at running with the ball than xhaka was, so he does that more often.

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