Arsenal news: Declan Rice ‘really surprised’ by team-mate who is ‘so aggressive’ | Football | Sport

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star sang the praises of team-mate Gabriel Magalhaes after the Gunners’ thumping win over on Saturday night. Following his £105million summer switch from , Rice claims that witnessing Gabriel’s strength and aggression at close quarters caught him off guard.

By his own admission, Rice was preparing to be blown away by Gabriel’s centre-back partner, William Saliba, upon arriving at the Emirates Stadium. The Frenchman was one of the Premier League‘s best defenders last season as Arsenal narrowly missed out on the title.

And while Saliba’s ability has not left Rice disappointed, the former Hammers captain was surprised by just how good Gabriel is too. “I think Saliba is unbelievable,” Rice explained. “I obviously heard all the talk about him before I came here.

“But the one who’s really surprised me is actually Gabriel. He’s so aggressive, so strong. He really wants it all the time, never loses a duel. When you’ve got two centre backs like that who want it, play aggressively, it really helps and gives you confidence.”

Gabriel, Rice and Saliba were denied a clean sheet against Newcastle on Saturday as ex-Gunner Joe Willock netted a consolation goal in the 84th minute. But the game was dead and buried by then as Arsenal put three valuable points on the board.

Kai Havertz, Bukayo Saka and Jakub Kiwior all found the net after Sven Botman kicked the game off with an early own-goal. The handsome 4-1 victory leaves Arsenal within two points of table-toppers Liverpool and one point of second-place Manchester City.

Rice and Saliba have started every single one of Arsenal’s 26 Premier League matches so far this season, while Gabriel has featured in all bar two. All three could be instrumental for manager Mikel Arteta during the title run-in.

Next up for the Gunners are two winnable ties against Sheffield United and Brentford, before turning their attention back to the Champions League, where they have a one-goal deficit to make up in the second leg of their last-16 clash with Porto.



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