HomeDeclan Rice: Arsenal have learned from title race mistakes

Declan Rice: Arsenal have learned from title race mistakes

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Declan Rice believes Arsenal have learned from the mistakes of last season as they bid to go one better than their second-placed finish and capture a first Premier League title in 20 yards.

Arsenal fell just short of becoming champions of England for the first time since the Invincibles of 2003-04 last term, setting the pace from the off but slipping up in the run-in as Manchester City reeled them in.

This campaign, buoyed by the arrival of Rice, Arsenal are in the thick of a three-team title race, with Liverpool also challenging City’s dominance in their final season under Jurgen Klopp.

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Arsenal’s run-in in 2022-23 was characterised by unexpected slip-ups, with the Gunners being held to draws by West Ham and Southampton and suffering a stunning 3-0 home loss to Brighton and Hove Albion.

Rice believes everyone at the Emirates Stadium – including Gunners boss Mikel Arteta – is better prepared to stay the course this time around.

Speaking at the London Football Awards, where he picked up the ceremony’s Premier League Player of the Year prize, Rice said: “Last year, I think Arsenal were the best team in the league.

“Obviously they slipped up and City always come on strong. What they say now is they can’t believe they lost the league after being eight points ahead.

“This year, I feel like everyone at the team, including the manager and the staff, has learned from their mistakes.

“We’re stronger, we have more belief. Even if we go a goal down, there’s still that confidence and that mental strength within us that we can push on and win games.”

Arsenal enter this weekend’s set of fixtures in third place, two points behind leaders Liverpool and one back from City in second.

The Gunners’ title challenge was on the brink of collapse when they lost back-to-back games against West Ham and Fulham during the festive period, but they have responded with a run of six straight Premier League wins, scoring a remarkable 25 goals in those matches.

“The league’s so strong this year, anything can happen,” Rice added. “The main thing is we’re right in it, because at Christmas we had a little wobble and lost two games on the bounce.

“We’ve won big games at home recently, which have been really important. Come the end of the season, we’ll see who wins it, but to play in it has been special, it’s been an honour.

“To go head-to-head with the top teams every week, with the pressure, has been so good. All the lads are really enjoying it so long may it continue. We’ll see what happens.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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