Mikel Arteta was pleased to see Martin Odegaard pick up his first goal in Arsenal colours but he’s called for more of the same from the Norwegian and fellow midfild technicians Willian and Emile Smith Rowe.
Odegaard’s long-range effort was a just reward for the Gunners first half dominance but it wasn’t until late in the game that the Gunners saw off Olympiacos who threatend an unlikely win after Youssef El-Arabi capitalised on another defensive mistake to level.
Late goals from Gabriel, assisted by Willian, and Mohamed Elneny secured a late 3-1 win that puts the Gunners in a good position to qualify for the Europa League quarter-finals.
Asked about Odegaard’s contribution, Arteta said: “He can do that and he needs to click by doing that. The same with Emile, the same with Willian.
“They are there to make things happen and win games. Winning games is decided near the boxes and they have to be more encouraged to attack those situations, to take risks, to take shots and to create opportunities to dribble because that’s their quality.
“Hopefully that’s going to bring Martin the confidence. We scored two wonderful goals from outside the box and that’s another way of getting goals. It’s going to be crucial.”
Despite his side securing a two-goal advantage, it’s clear that Arteta was not pleased by the defensive mistakes. Seething, would be an understatement.
On the plus side, he was pleased with the impact of Mohamed Elneny, who also netted from range.
Asked how crucial the Egyptian’s 85th-minute goal might be, Arteta said: “I don’t know, there is still another game to play in this competition and with this level of opponent, anything can happen.
“So we have to be very prepared to take the game nil-nil and go and win it at the Emirates. Then we will be through.
“With Mo in particular and with the subs, I’m extremely delighted because I know how much they want to play and they are key in this competition. If you want to be successful, you need your subs to make an impact and they’ve done it tonight again.
“And Mo in particular, because of how he’s been training so hard to improve his shooting range with Roundy [Steve Round] and he got his reward tonight. It’s very important for the team.”