In the match against Tottenham Hotspur, at Emirates Stadium Martin Odegaard was possibly Arsenal’s unsung hero.
Emile Smith Rowe, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Bukayo Saka have received a lot of praise following Arsenal’s 3-1 triumph over their north London rivals.
Meanwhile, Tony Adams, a former Arsenal player, praised Ben White.
“It was a fantastic, fantastic first-half display, the kids were incredible,” the former defender stated in the Sky Sports studio after watching the game. “I just liked the shape, the two holding midfielders, they won every header, Ben White was outstanding today, asserting himself in the opening 15-20 minutes, I’m excited,” said the coach.
Apart from Ian Wright waxing lyrical about Arsenal’s £34 million summer signing, there hasn’t been much buzz about Odegaard’s performance.
To Wright’s point, Odegaard’s decision-making and movement against Spurs were excellent, and he was largely responsible for the team’s dominant first-half performance.
The Norwegian found a pocket of space behind Spurs’ non-existent midfield, surged towards the backline, and ultimately passed to Saka, who squared the ball for Smith Rowe to break the deadlock.
And for goal number three, the offensive midfielder was just as important.
It’s no coincidence that the Gunners have been given a much-needed injection of creativity since the international break and much of that has been down to playmaker combining well with the likes of Smith Rowe and Thomas Partey.
When Tottenham’s Harry Kane lost control in the attacking third, Arsenal launched another counterattack, and as players rushed forward, Odegaard picked the proper pass once more.
Instead of hurrying things, he went back to square the ball for Smith Rowe, taking three Spurs players out of the game with one pass: Tanguy Ndombele, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, and Kane.
Mikel Arteta’s patience during the summer transfer window was evident in just one moment.
Odegaard may not have scored as many goals as James Maddison, who has been linked with a move to Arsenal as a replacement, but he could be the answer to Arteta’s primary problem.
In recent weeks, Arteta has finally been allowed to pitch his best Arsenal XI, or anything close to it, and whether in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 configuration, Odegaard has quietly established himself as a key figure in the Gunners’ aspirations of returning to Europe.