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Because of how good he is for us

Ian Wright reckons Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard is starting to be targeted by the opposition due to his importance to the Gunners side.

Odegaard has been the north Londoners’ creative spark throughout his time at the Emirates. The Norweigan playmaker has bagged 31 goals and 17 assists in 123 games since arriving in 2021.

However, the 24-year-old perhaps hasn’t the heights of last season during the early stages of the 2023-24 campaign. He’s managed seven goals and two assists in 18 games across competitions.

Wright suggests that Odegaard‘s drop in form is a result of the opposition looking to keep the Norway international quiet. He told Premier League Productions (via football.london):

“What has happened is that teams are rightly targeting Odegaard because of how good he is for us and how integral he is in passing through the lines and keeping it moving for us. Teams are making sure they are getting someone close to him or doubling up on him.”

Odegaard is renowned as one of the Premier League’s best ball-playing midfielders. Thus, Wright thinks teams are doubling up on the former Real Madrid star:

“What he has shown, and he has shown it recently, is if he has time and space, then he will hurt you.”

Arsenal were without Odegaard for two games last month as he nursed a hip injury. His absence was felt as the Gunners suffered their only defeat of the season thus far in a 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United.

Mikel Arteta was full of praise for Odegaard recently, hailing his skipper’s consistency. He said in reaction to his display in a 2-1 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers (via the club’s official website):

“He’s a really consistent player, he gives a lot especially against teams like that, they didn’t want to defend very close to their own box and I think he was really good today.”

Odegaard joined Arsenal from Madrid in 2021 for a reported £30 million fee. He was given the club’s captaincy in July 2022 and has been vital for his side.


Arsenal legend Emmanuel Petit voices his concerns about Martin Odegaard this season

Emmanuel Petit is concerned about Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard.
Emmanuel Petit is concerned about Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard.

Emmanuel Petit is concerned that Odegaard isn’t replicating his form from last season due to mental and physical fatigue. The Gunners icon said (via The Mirror):

“Odegaard is not the same player as he was last season at the moment. He looks a bit sloppy in everything that he is doing, and he looks tired mentally and physically.”

Odegaard’s response to Petit’s concerns was to get on the scoresheet in a 2-1 win against Wolves. The Norweigan is getting used to new midfield partnerships with Declan Rice and Kai Havertz.

He’s not the only Arsenal player whose constant game time has become worrisome. Bukayo Saka has also been starting game after game at both club and international level.

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