Thierry Henry and Declan Rice in agreement on Arsenal's Premier League title chances

The Premier League legend was of the same belief as West Ham United skipper Declan Rice when it comes to assessing whether Arsenal can actually end their 18-year wait for a league title.

Arsenal have received glowing praise from both club legend Thierry Henry and West Ham midfielder Declan Rice with the pair backing the Gunners to go the distance and win the Premier League.

Mikel Arteta’s men currently sit seven points clear at the top of the Premier League table having played one game more than reigning champions Manchester City. Their first game back following the World Cup break came in the form of a home clash with London rivals West Ham on Boxing Day.

After falling behind to a Said Benrahma penalty early on, Arsenal eventually ran out 3-1 winners following a dominant second-half display. Going into the game, many were intrigued by how the Gunners would fare without talismanic first-choice forward Gabriel Jesus.

The Brazilian was forced to undergo knee surgery after an injury sustained while out with Brazil at the Qatar World Cup and many Arsenal fans questioned whether the lengthy period on the sidelines for Jesus would derail their title tilt, but Eddie Nketiah deputised in fine fashion against the Hammers and got himself on the scoresheet with his side’s third.

After the clash, Gunners icon Henry was on punditry duty for Amazon Prime and discussed Nketiah’s impact.

“Now it is up to Man City to answer,” the Frenchman explained. “Yes, we are here to stay. It is important to say we have a team. Arsenal fans have been waiting for a team to compete. Not one or two players, we have a squad.

“You win a title with a squad. That is very important and what Eddie Nketiah showed tonight, he showed that he can be the answer for the time being.

“We don’t know how long exactly the time being is. However long they want him to be the answer. For the time being we’ll have to wait for Gabriel to come back, but that’s exactly what Eddie did.”

Declan Rice struggles against the might of Arsenal’s midfield

Shortly after the full-time whistle, West Ham captain and England regular Rice echoed a similar sentiment to Henry as he heaped praise on Arsenal.

Asked whether the Gunners could go the distance, Rice replied: “One hundred per cent, I think they are a top team.

“You can see they are coached incredibly well, they have a lot of attacking talent, a young squad and they could go the whole way for sure.”

Up next for the Gunners is the stern test of an away trip against Brighton on New Year’s Eve, before Arsenal welcome second-placed Newcastle to the Emirates just three days later.


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