Declan Rice names Arsenal’s unsung hero as Mikel Arteta defends Jorginho

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Written By Maya Cantina

Arsenal are enjoying a well-earned rest after a busy and largely successful start to 2024.

The Gunners are not in action until Monday, March 4, when they play Sheffield United in the Premier League. The nine-day gap in fixtures comes because Mikel Arteta ’s side were knocked out of the FA Cup by Liverpool back in January.

And while that defeat at the Emirates Stadium was undoubtedly a disappointment, it could help sustain their fantastic run in the league. Arsenal have won six in succession in the Premier League by an aggregate scoreline of 25-3 to stay in the hunt alongside Liverpool and Manchester City.

The 4-1 thrashing of Newcastle – the side who had beaten them in controversial fashion back in November – showed a team in great form. They are now focusing on games against Sheffield United and Brentford before the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Porto on March 12. Here are the latest stories concerning the club.

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Rice surprised by team-mate

Declan Rice arrived at Arsenal in the summer with some preconceptions about his new team-mates. He has now admitted that the abilities of Gabriel Magalhaes have surprised him following another strong performance against Newcastle.

“I think [William] Saliba is unbelievable,” Rice said. “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 has formed a solid partnership with Saliba and the duo have been key to their Premier League-leading record of 23 goals conceded in 26 matches.






Declan Rice celebrates his winning goal vs Luton
Declan Rice has been surprised by Gabriel Magalhaes at Arsenal
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Getty Images)

Arteta defends Jorginho

Jorginho was hailed by Arteta after the Newcastle game after putting in a performance which reminded him why he pushed to sign him from Chelsea in January 2023. The experienced midfielder made just his sixth Premier League start of the season but dominated alongside Rice.

“He’s a top player,” Arteta said. “Especially when opponents have certain behaviours and set-ups. The way I imagined the game, he was going to have a big impact.” He added: “When he’s not playing consistently, credit to him because he was magnificent again.”

Jorginho said: “All I do is try to make things easier for my team. When I go out there and I can do that, I’m really happy because to see the team pushing and scoring goals and having fun, enjoying being together on the pitch with these fans, it’s just incredible.”






Jorginho
Jorginho has made a big impact at Arsenal
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Michael Zemanek/REX/Shutterstock)

Raya’s guard dog

David Raya has been training an XL Bully dog to protect his family and property. The Arsenal goalkeeper has a dog called Goku, who is exempt from the ban on that particular breed in the UK.

The 28-year-old has hired a company to help him train Goku. “Everyone with XL Bullys is ­worried,” a spokesperson for Elite Protection Dogs told The Sun. “But David is a responsible owner, he wants to be responsible with him. We are training Goku on a long-term contract.”

There have been a spate of break-ins involving Premier League footballers in recent years. Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish and Joelinton are among those to have been targeted by criminals.

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