Rodri and Declan Rice have been the driving forces in their side’s respective title charges and are set to do battle when Arsenal visit Man City… but which of the midfielders triumphs in the statistics?

  • Rodri and Declan Rice’s battle will be key when Man City face Arsenal on Sunday
  • On England duty Rice called Rodri ‘arguably the best No6 in the world’
  • Why a defeat against Arsenal will be curtains for Man City’s title defence – Listen to the It’s All Kicking Off podcast 
  • This season’s three-pronged Premier League title race is set for it’s next chapter on Sunday as Manchester City play host to Arsenal at the Etihad, and a certain midfield battle has the potential to decide which side ends up with the three points.

    All eyes are on this weekend’s monumental clash with just one point separating the Gunners and City in first and third, with Liverpool sandwiched between the two.

    Both sides boast a huge amount of talent, but all eyes are going to be on the inevitable midfield battle between Rodri and Declan Rice.

  • A debate about who is superior between the Citizens’ ‘lighthouse’ and the Arsenal number 41 has gathered pace over the course of this season and their contest in the middle on Sunday will be key.

    We were robbed of seeing a showdown between the two players when Arsenal beat Manchester City 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium in October, as Rodri missed the match through injury

  • Rodri has won 10 titles while at Manchester City while Rice has won one at Arsenal

    Rodri is regarded as the benchmark by many for what a number six should be, Rice himself even believes the Spanish international is the best in the world.

    Speaking while on England duty earlier in the week, Rice said: ‘You look at the best No6s in the world, Rodri [is] arguably the best.

    However, Rice himself has a case for being in the conversation after an excellent first season at Arsenal, and looking at the statistics, it’s clear to see why both players are crucial to their sides.

    The Gunners’ £105m midfielder hasn’t missed a league game this season, starting all 28 matches, while Rodri has played and started 25 without losing any.

    Pep Guardiola’s side have lost all three league matches in which Rodri has missed, with the midfielder unavailable through either injury or suspension, proving how pivotal he is to the side.

    Both players shine in their own way while marshalling midfield, but in an attacking sense they cannot be separated, both netting six times and assisting on five occasions in the Premier League this season.

    However, when it comes to passing, it’s Rodri that comes out on top. The 27-year-old leads the way in the division with 2428 successful passes, with 1516 of those coming in the opposition’s half.

    Rice’s 1662 successful passes, with 954 in the opposing half, are respectable, but the numbers are no match for the leagues pass-master.

    When the Spanish midfielder can’t pass his way through a team he finds other ways, completing a nifty 28 dribbles this campaign, which is double that of Rice with 14.

    Rodri is superior in the duels department to the Gunners midfielder as well, winning 150 of them compared to Rice’s 114, while coming out on top aerially too with 44 aerial duels won, nine more than Rice.

    The ‘lighthouse’ has also created more big chances, had more shots on target, and has a higher expected goals than Arsenal’s 25-year-old maestro.

    While the numbers mentioned so far make it look like a clear victory for Rodri in the debate with Rice, we are not finished yet.

    There is no doubt about Rodri’s ability going forward, he always seems to pop up with a big goal – Arsenal fans will remember the last-minute winner he netted at the Emirates in 2022.

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