Premier League • England

Arsenal legend hails ‘complete’ star after unstoppable display; Gunners labelled bona fide champions

Bukayo Saka and Declan Rice, Arsenal

Declan Rice has received big praise from a former Arsenal man

Former Arsenal star Martin Keown has lavished praise on Declan Rice after his dominant performance in the win over Bournemouth, while a second pundit has explained why the Gunners simply must be considered champions.

Arsenal took another step towards the Premier League title by beating Bournemouth 3-0 at the Emirates on Saturday. Mikel Arteta’s side dominated in the early stages and forced several last-ditch blocks from Bournemouth’s defenders.

Arsenal could have been 4-0 up when they finally took the lead just before half time, with Bukayo Saka scoring from the penalty spot after Kai Havertz had drawn a foul from Cherries goalkeeper Mark Travers in the box.

Bournemouth improved after the interval but Arsenal eased the concern among their fans by making it 2-0 in the 70th minute. Rice did brilliantly to swivel and play in Leandro Trossard with the outside of his right foot, and the Belgian made no mistake with his finish.

Rice capped off an excellent display deep into stoppage time by racing into the box and smashing home to make it 3-0.

On TNT Sports’ coverage of the game, former Chelsea and England star Joe Cole explained why he thinks Arsenal are bona fide champions already.

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“Fantastic performance. Should have been 3-0 or 4-0 from the first half, [they] took the pedal off the gas a touch in the second half but then showed their class with the finishing,” he said.

“Declan Rice, outstanding. Havertz was running the line, threats from everywhere, solid at the back. They look like champions.

Arsenal put in ‘impeccable performance’

“I think it’s going to be one of them seasons… Man City or Arsenal, whoever gets the trophy, there’s two champions. I can’t see a fault in this Arsenal team – a real impeccable performance.”

Keown, meanwhile, lauded Rice’s performance. “Declan Rice. The superlatives for him… The way he played, the assists, he just keeps getting better,” he said.

“If ever a position or a club was ready-made for him, it was the Arsenal situation. Nine assists now, seven goals – he’s the complete player for Arsenal.”

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