By Noel Whelan

11th Apr, 2022 | 8:30am

Declan Rice cited in 'huge' Arsenal verdict after 'significant' reveal - pundit

Arsenal have lost their very own Declan Rice after Mikel Arteta revealed Thomas Partey could be out for the rest of the season.

That is the view of former Leeds striker Noel Whelan, who was speaking exclusively to Football Insider in the wake of the 28-year-old’s injury blow.

Partey limped off as Arsenal lost 3-0 at Crystal Palace last week (4 April), and missed out as Arteta’s side fell 2-1 at home to Brighton on Saturday (9 April).

As quoted by The Guardian (8 April), the Gunners boss revealed the midfielder has suffered a “significant” thigh injury and admitted he could be out for the last seven games of this season.

The former Atletico Madrid man has made 23 Premier League starts this term.

Whelan suggested Partey is irreplaceable in the Gunners’ midfield.

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“He’s such a big player for Arsenal, and he plays such an important role,” he told Football Insider‘s Russell Edge.

“He gives them security, very much like Declan Rice or Kalvin Phillips. Every team has a player like that, and they’re there for a reason.

“They’ve got a lot of attacking midfield players, but none who have got that physicality and that defensive capability.

“There’s none like Partey in that Arsenal squad. It’s a real worry when you see how exposed they were against Palace and Brighton.

“It’s a huge loss, especially as the pressure is on now. It’s really not the right time to lose a player of his stature.”

Arsenal have won 65.2% of their league games when Partey is fit – as opposed to a win percentage of just 33.3% without the Ghana international.

The Gunners are three points adrift of rivals Tottenham – who currently occupy fourth place.

In other news, pundit tips Arsenal to snub James Maddison and sign teammate after £50m report.