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Pundit explains the reason why Declan Rice should be ‘furious’ with Mikel Arteta

Pundit has explained the reason why Declan Rice should be angry with Mikel Arteta following the defeat to Aston Villa.

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Declan Rice
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Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal suffered a defeat at the hands of Aston Villa, with their title hopes taking a hit and sports pundit Richard Keys believes one player in particular, Declan Rice, has reason to be upset with the manager.

Playing without his usual midfield partner Jorginho, Declan Rice was tasked with a different role against Villa. Arteta moved Kai Havertz into the middle, pushing Rice back and allowing Oleksandr Zinchenko to move into the midfield from left-back.

Keys expressed his frustration with Arteta’s decision, questioning the need to include Zinchenko at the expense of Rice. He criticised Zinchenko’s impact on the game, suggesting that Rice’s influence is far more significant.

READ MORE: Arsenal handed unexpected Champions League advantage after shock Bayern Munich decision

“If I was Rice I’d be furious. I’d be asking ‘why pay £100m for me – only to ask me to play second fiddle to that busy fool’?” Keys remarked. “Zinchenko doesn’t affect games in the same way Rice does. The whole balance of the team has to be different.”

Rice - Arsenal

Keys highlighted the successful partnership between Rice and Jorginho, indicating that their chemistry in midfield had been crucial to Arsenal’s previous victories. He questioned Arteta’s decision to change a winning formula, suggesting it may have cost Arsenal the title.


The shift in tactics raised eyebrows, with some speculating whether Arteta was preparing for the upcoming Champions League clash against Bayern Munich. Regardless, the decision to incorporate Zinchenko at the expense of Rice appeared to backfire against Villa.

Despite his polarising opinions, Keys made a valid point in emphasising the importance of maintaining a winning combination in the team. The inclusion of Zinchenko disrupted the balance and dynamic of the midfield, leaving Rice frustrated with his altered role.

Arteta’s choices, particularly regarding team selection, are under scrutiny following the defeat. Arsenal’s upcoming match against Bayern Munich will test the manager’s ability to rectify the mistakes made against Villa.

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