Cesc Fabregas has tipped Arsenal to challenge for the Premier League title again after narrowly losing to Manchester City in the race last term.
The Gunners led the way for the majority of the 2022-23 campaign but stumbled during the closing stages of the season.
They have since strengthened their squad this summer, signing Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber, David Raya and Declan Rice, and Fabregas believes that should make them mount a stronger title challenge.
The former Arsenal captain has also been impressed with the displays of the England international midfielder so far, tipping him to become a big leader for the club.
“Arsenal will compete for the title again; they are stronger than last season,” he told Sky Sports.
“Declan Rice is fantastic. His personality brings a new dimension to the team, and he doesn’t really need too much time to adapt because he is so smart. He could be a big leader for Arsenal.”
The 24-year-old has been the best player in his position so far this season, and manager Mikel Arteta and the fans have been pleased with his performances so far.
Rice has kept things ticking in the middle of the park over the last three Premier League games, and his display in the 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park particularly caught the attention of everyone.
Arsenal host Manchester United on Sunday in their last game before heading for the international break, and the battle between Rice and Casemiro in midfield could determine the outcome of the match.
The North London club were held to a 2-2 draw by Fulham on Saturday and have found themselves behind Man City in the table already, with the defending champions the only club yet to lose in the Premier League this season.
The result felt like a defeat as Arsenal were just a few minutes away from securing their third victory in as many games, and they cannot afford to drop points against the Red Devils.
The match could prove to be their toughest test so far this term, and they will need to prove their title credentials by winning the game.
Rice and others will have to be on top of their game as beating Man United will not come easy.