Mikel Arteta was full of praise for Martin Odegaard’s composure after the Norwegian helped haul Arsenal back from the brink of defeat to secure a 3-3 draw with West Ham at the London Stadium.
On an afternoon when the Gunners conceded three times inside 32 minutes, the 22-year-old midfielder provided his teammates with the ammunition they needed to bounce back against the odds.
The Real Madrid loanee twice fed Calum Chambers to make crosses that ended up in the back of the net via Tomas Soucek and Craig Dawson and went on to provide the pass that allowed substitute Nicolas Pepe to pick out Alex Lacazette for his late headed equaliser.
Odegaard ended the game with a 93% pass completion rate, including 37/41 passes in the final third, before getting the nod of approval from Arteta
“I think he had an incredible performance, he was very intelligent the way he read the game, the way he affected the game and again he showed how much he wants to win,” he said.
“When everyone was a little bit trembling, he gave us that composure on the ball and he created chance after chance.
“I love talented and creative players that all the time are willing to take that ball and make things happen, that are mobile and also hard-working. He is one of them.
“We have some others with different qualities but it’s true that Martin is now giving us a different level on certain things that we didn’t have.”
Arteta has also been impressed with the way the new boy commands his teammates to implement the high press.
“He’s been showing that from week one,” Arteta added. “When he steps on to that pitch, he always wants the ball.
“He commands the pressing and he’s been really influential. I think we are all happily surprised because he looks shy and humble but when he steps on that pitch, he is a real character. He loves to play football.”