Arteta applauds Odegaard but wants his creators to take more risks


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.”

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Never Happen

Our subs did make an impact as MA says. I preferred Mo’s impact to Dani’s.
Though I must be honest, at the time I thought it was good to bring Dani and not good to bring Mo on.


At the time I was mad with Arteta for bringing on Dani I thought it was favoritism, and honestly thought Mo would be better to come on instead of Dani and I hate to be proved right. Odegaard is overrated and Esr is the better CAM and should start against spurs but I must say Odegaard have more energy about him. He runs and runs while ESR you may not notice in the game until he does something brilliant. I do prefer ESR one touch pass and move football to Odegaard 3 touch pass and stand and wait for the… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

So far, I do prefer what Emile offers in that central role, over Odegaard. However Odegaard has the experience, and it does show at times


I definitely feel more and more that Leno is the main culprit in all or most of recent calamities. I think asking someone running and under pressure to make a first time ball running towards goal to a team mate out of view is way too risky. I also think last night in the first half the choice to Luiz was a bad one. He had KT way more open on the other side and he in turn had options.

Timorous Me

Obviously the proof will be in how the team plays, but I’m happy to hear him say these things, because I was left feeling the same way despite the three goals (and have been in other games recently). Playing Xhaka, Willian, and Odegaard together is great for possession, but they all have a tendency to cycle the ball sideways and backwards and it feels like it blunts our attack. Just look at how little Auba could do today until he started coming out wide. This is where Smith-Rowe and Pepe feel like better options for me–the willingness to drive forward… Read more »

The Arsenal

Blunts our attacks while inviting pressure at the back.


And can any sane unbiased soul out here, let me know why Martinelli is not preferred?


Because talented though he is, he is raw and Arteta wants players who will follow instruction. He did the same to Pepe who only started getting games time when he improved his discipline.

To be honest (not getting at you Takeshita) I’m a bit over the Martinelli debate.

The kids has 4 years on his contract. There is plenty of time to sit on him and his development. He isn’t the difference between 10th and 6th or reaching the quarter finals and winning it.

We have more pressing issues to fix before we get to Martinelli


U quickly forgot how good he was n am sure ur among the people who wanted him to PLAY this season


I haven’t forgotten how good he is and I still want him to play. If I was manager he would be playing.

I only gave the reasons why he’s not playing.

Despite that I’m still bored of the debate. People are acting like we’ve benched messi.


Maybe it’s because ESR has been around the team longer than Odegaard, but he seems a much better fit than the Norwegian.

Yet to be convinced they can play together and would like to see Odegaard rested for the Sp*rz game.


One thing that I observed in last night’s game is how one footed Odegaard is. Several opportunities to cross or slip others in with his right and cut back every time, slowing it down.

El Mintero

I’ll be pissed if Odegaard starts ahead of ESR and Pepe on Sunday.


100%. I think Odegaard probably has a greater skill set (at the moment, anyway), but ESR is more positive and urgent – and has far greater mobility. I’d love to see The Croydon De Bruyne absolutely destroy the scum.


There’s also no focal point to our attack. Usually there is more interchange around the box because Lacca always shows short but Auba will usually look to hang on the shoulder and make runs into channels. Xhaka, Willian, and Odegaard don’t make forward runs either which basically means you have nobody in front to pass to.

santi's thigh grab

We need another scorer in the front four, I would choose Pepe over Willian to start, he’s just more dangerous and gives us another scoring option.


Can we take a moment to discuss that header by Gabriel? Whoosh!


Was like a Rocket League goal


It was also against the run of play and turned the game back to us. After Partey went off we were a shambles. We lost momentum, possession, and then conceded 1 nearly two goals. I’d argue without that header we’re looking at 1-1 coming back home. The cross was decent from Willian, more a hanger in a good area, but wow that header is epic! His momentum is going towards the left corner of the pitch and he put it in the right corner of the net with power. Wow!


Mertesacker esque!

Tim Charlesworth

So pleased that someone else noticed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a header like it. Anyone who has played the game knows it is virtually impossible to head a ball back across goal like that whilst in the air with your momentum heading in the wrong direction. That was the heading equivalent of a 40 yard screamer into the top corner.


Pepr and Martinelli do not play because they take risks and lose the ball. This man is the mystery of the century. I want us to be the best, and I hate losing, but I feel like even when we win these days, its joyless. I feel like Arteta deprived the team of its soul and made the players puppets, medicore puppets. I am one of those who fell in love with Arsenal after the glory days, in 2006 to be specific. I never saw us win the league. My love and oride of the team was due to how… Read more »

Hulahoops Baptista

We’ve had a much better midfield in the past. Compare our previous midfields to now. I am sure if we had players at the level of Rosicky, Cesc, Helb, Ramsey, Wilshere, Nasri, Carzola, Ozil (peak years). I’m not an Arteta fanboy, but listing them out should make you realise the gulf in quality.

And I’d take Artera’s Arsenal to Emery’s conceed 30 shots a game Arsenal.


You forgot pre-Milan Flamini and a fit Diaby.


You would of hated the mid-seventies!


Team I’d like to see against the spuds:

Pepe – Auba – Saka

Emile SR – Cellabos – Partey

Tierney – Gabriel – Mari – Bellerin


Team I think we will get against the spuds:

Willian – Auba – Saka

Odegaard – Xhaka – Partey

Tierney – Gabriel – Luiz – Bellerin



Very unlikely to see Gabriel and Mari paired together. Both play left side of a back four. I like both players but don’t think it would work.Definitely ESR instead of Odegaard.👌

The Arsenal

Im also a fan of Mari. Luiz like Xhaxa, Willian and Bellerin do not prescribe to Artetas ‘non negotiables no matter how poor they play or how many mistakes they make.


Willian will score a hat trick and we will all go full blown “He scored today but he should never play for Arsenal again “


It looks more likely Willian will never again score 3 goals in a season than a hattrick in a game, let alone a massive game.


Spot on post. Though I would play Mo instead of Ceballos against sp*rz.

Mo and Partey bossed ManU


Mari plays on the left side of a back two.


Good team can agree with you team largely, but not Dani , not the speed , legs or size for a derby .

The Arsenal

Play Pepe and Matinelli then….


Take more risks? Lose it and run back to cover?
Silly boy, Granit doesn’t want to be exposed.


After watching the highlights I’ve made an observation:

During the Leno-Ceballos fiasco, El-Arabi, who was intending to close down Leno, reads his body language and instinctively turns towards Ceballos at the same moment, if not a fraction of a second earlier, that Leno releases the ball.

In such scenarios, Leno could do well from feinting a pass, sending the marker(s) in the wrong direction and then using this newfound space to safely pass the ball ( to Luiz in last night’s game).

This is something that Neuer does all the time and it works wonders for Bayern.


Neuer >> Leno


Can’t argue with that but I’m pretty sure that if they practice it in training, Leno could pull it off. It could even prove beneficial towards his making his way into the German national squad.
He has to up his game a bit in order to be considered ahead of Neuer and Ter Stegen.


So basically three worldies


I’m all in favour of our creative players taking risks to unlock the opponents defence. Less so when they unlock ours.


Forward players taking more risk is good. I think Tierney is the only player currently taking on and going past defenders.

Come the summer we’ll see if Arteta is ruthless enough to succeed. Luiz, Ceballos and Xhaka consistently are the ones making individual errors that cost us.

santi's thigh grab

Of the three, I think only Xhaka will remain. We have a lot to do this summer and not all of it is going to get done. Ceballos would not have gotten into Arsene’s team, can’t one touch pass to save his life, first movement is a turn then 3 to 4 quick touches then release. Slows the attack down.


Mik must’ve loved Mo’s smoker – he had a fairly handy long-range bazooka himself, as I recall


That free-kick against Villa. Absolute screamer! And IIRC he scored a belter against Citeh too.

Pastor Simon

Against spurs I would like to see this line up


Cedric >>>>> Holding >>>> Gabriel >>>>> Tieney

Party >>>>>>>>> ESR >>>>>> Xhaka

Saka >>>>>>>. Laca >>>>>>>>>> Auba

santi's thigh grab

Auba belongs in the middle with Pepe on the wing. Not sure Holding is ready. Partey is spine of the team, needs to play in the middle and ESR on the right where he likes to drift out wide in the half spaces. Other than that, good lineup.


I’d like to see Pepe start the game against Spurs. I think he has shown consistent threat in his most recent sets of displays and when he plays directly, taking on players, he does cause mayhem the likes of which I think could prove vital against Spurs.


Yeah, I know it’ll be an unpopular opinion, but I think even head to head against Saka he’s shown enough in recent weeks to secure a starting spot (love Saka, btw, but he just seems a bit off the last few games).

I know heads down/tired etc but he was looking dangerous in his cameo last night.


I’d go Saka right and Pepe right, but Arteta is wedded to Willian with his mountain of assists:-)


I agree. We’ve had a good start to the three game run that will probably define the season, one way or another. Pepe has improved recently so let’s see how he does against Sp*rs, which really is a “must win” game for any chance of a EL qualifying place come the end of the season.


Weird, isn’t it? Our attackers don’t take anywhere near enough risks, and our defenders take way, way too many!


I, for one, would prefer our defenders to take fewer.

Announce Bendtner

I was guilty of screaming “not from there” just before Mo smashed it in. He rightly shut me up and I’m very happy he did.

Loved seeing the celebrations from team mates too.