Arsenal hero picks out two Gunners stars as Player of the Year contenders | Football

Declan Rice scored his fourth Premier League goal of the season on Monday night (Picture: Getty Images)

Emmanuel Petit reckons both Declan Rice and Bukayo Saka have ‘realistic chances’ of winning the PFA Player of the Year, thoroughly impressed with their performances for Arsenal this season.

It was another good night for the Gunners on Monday as they thrashed Sheffield United 6-0 at Bramall Lane to stay within two points of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table.

The title race is very tight this season, with Manchester City also firmly in the hunt and all three sides at the top in fine form as we head towards the business end of the campaign.

Stars of Manchester City and Liverpool are in contention as well, but Petit feels Rice and Saka have genuine claims to be named Player of the Year.

‘Yes, most likely. Even though the competition will be tough, both Bukayo and Declan have realistic chances of becoming Player of the Year,’ Petit told wettfreunde.net.

Petit played in central midfield in the famous Arsenal side that won the 1997-98 Premier League title and has been very impressed with how quickly Rice has settled into his role since moving from West Ham last summer.

‘Declan Rice also gives the feeling as if he has been playing at Arsenal for several years,’ said the Frenchman. ‘He takes responsibility, he always knows where to go. He integrated quickly and well.

Olympique Lyonnais v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg

Emmanuel Petit won the Premier League with Arsenal in 1998 (Picture: Getty Images)

‘It is particularly important for the young players because they can follow it at any time. He is also very present in the big games.’

Petit also had high praise for Saka, although admitted he has improvements to make and he can prove his quality in the Champions League knockout stages, with Arsenal needing a win over Porto in the upcoming second lag of their last 16 tie, after losing the first leg 1-0.

‘I am a big Bukayo Saka fan. I love the player, the guy, what he radiates and his style of play. He has developed splendidly in the last few months,’ said Petit.

Bukayo Saka is enjoying another impressive season with Arsenal (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Yes, Bukayo is on a very good path. He certainly still has room for improvement, but it’s getting better and better.

‘The games in the knockout phase of the Champions League this spring will be important for him in order to reach the next stage in his development.’


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