This season Martin Odegaard has reached a level many thought he was still a couple of years off, however he has got stronger as the season has gone on, and truly embraced the captaincy of the club.
With 15 goals and seven assists this season, he rightfully stands amongst the league’s best, and is only going to get better from here, with his ever hungry attitude repeatedly receiving praise from Mikel Arteta.
That praise hasn’t just been internal. Odegaard has been heralded by fans of all clubs, the media and pretty much everyone with an opinion on football, however it hasn’t stopped some petulant Arsenal ‘fans’ attacking him recently.
Against Sounthampton, his loose pass led to them attacking and scoring their second in the opening 10 minutes. Whilst his pass did lead directly to a Saints player, it’s important to look at two details of the move.
The first is Fabio Vieira’s positioning. He had drifted away from Odegaard and Partey and wasn’t on his toes in the way the Southampton defender was, causing him to react late, then fail to make any kind of attempt to bring him down.
The second is the move itself. Southampton had a pass, a carry and another pass before the ball reached the back of the net.That then becomes a team goal to concede. Odegaard’s pass should have been better, but you cannot be cut open when losing the ball that far up the pitch.
Next came City, and a low in confidence Arsenal looked shell shocked. Again, Odegaard give a sloppy pass to Thomas Partey, and like Vieira, he was heavy footed and slow to react. An in form Partey deals with that ball every day of the week, and we all know it.
But, football is a team game and Odegaard has to take responsibility as well. The pass lacked weight and was there to be intercepted, and it ultimately cost Arsenal at an important moment.
The worrying pass, and one that was 100% on our skipper was Saturday’s pass against Notthingham Forest that was intercepted by Morgan Gibbs White before a lucky finish from Awoniyi gifted them the only goal of the game.
The pass was lazy, and it cost Arsenal on a day when motivation and confidence were already at a season long low.
Typically, and Arsenal player would have been in that area to receive, however with so much rotation, that telepathic understanding has dropped, and Odegaard should have been aware of that, and looked up before making the pass.
On another day, he gets away with all three, but football can be a cruel game, and he will learn a hard lesson as a result.
But, let’s not get carried away. He has been phenomenal this season. We haven’t had a midfielder like him for a long time, and his performances and leadership are a huge reason why we have finished second.
If you’re one of those attacking him on social media, give your head a wobble. It’s been a long time since we had a player like him, and most clubs would kill to have him in their team.
Now let’s go out on Saturday, get behind our captain and make the final day of the season a happy one against a Wolves side who had been playing flip flop football for some time!