Odegaard hails Arsenal character after important win

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Martin Odegaard scored his first goal for Arsenal as the Gunners ran out 3-1 winners against Olympiacos in Athens.

The Norwegian fired into the roof of the net from 25-yards to break the deadlock in the first half. Even though his effort was cancelled out just before the hour-mark by Youssef El-Arabi, late goals from Gabriel and Mohamed Elneny established an important two-goal cushion heading into the second leg.

After the game, Odegaard answered questions from BT Sport.

On the performance…

It’s a big win for us. It’s a great result, three goals away from home and a win in this competition is always big. Very pleased for the performance and the result and the way we strike back after the goal we concede. The mentality in the team is great so I’m very pleased with everything.

On the character of the team…

I think it shows the spirit in the team and the way we back each other. One player makes a mistake and then we react. We know we have to get a goal and that’s what it’s about, being a team. When one player makes a mistake you have to strike back as a team and that’s what we did today. That’s why I’m very happy with that and of course, the result.

On his goal…

Yeah, I wanted to get a shot on goal. Luckily I had a good hit and it went in. It was an important goal. I’m happy.

On feeling at home at Arsenal…

Yeah, definitely. As I’ve said before, I’ve felt at home since the first day. I’m happy to be here. I feel great and I’m very pleased to be part of the team.

On feeling confident heading into the second leg…

It’s just half time. We have to keep going. We have a big game on Sunday and we have to be ready again on Thursday. Nothing is over. This is just the first part and we have to be ready for the next one.

On the importance of the trophy to the club…

It’s very important. Obviously, we’re not where we want to be in the league in the table so it’s very important for us this year and a chance to play Champions League football next season. Obviously, it’s very important. We want to go as far as possible.

On a positive result ahead of the North London derby…

Yeah, it’s a positive result, gives us confidence going into the weekend and also the next week. We have to keep going and build on this game.

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Skinny Ricky

Make Martin’s move permanent!

Biggles

If only it was down to us …

Naked Cygan

I have a feeling he will be playing for us on a season’s long loan next season. Not sure Ceballos will get another year.

Naked Cygan

We won, but this continues mistakes every fking game is becoming a joke. There is clearly a lack of focus and concentration when we play the ball from the back. David Luiz got very lucky too. Arteta needs to fix this!!!!

Daveo

Agreed. We’re forcing it too much and after this many errors it’s clear we are out of the ability of the players, thus a big fraction of the responsibility for these errors has to land with the boss. He got a lot of tactics right in this hand, but a very up and down game from a coaching perspective. In the end a massive win so he mostly deserves credit after this one.

santi's thigh grab

Top teams play out from the back. We score many goals playing out from the back. Managers cannot make on the field errors, they don’t play the game. Players have discretion on playing out from the back who they pass to and whether they should take a touch or one time it. This is not on the manager but on the quality of the players. Only through playing the tactics he wants to play do you find out whether the players are good enough to execute.

Daveo

It’s quite clear they aren’t up to executing it. So do we keep shooting ourselves in the foot or should the manager allow a bit more flexibility until he gets the upgrades on the players he thinks can’t hack his tactics?
[Problematically, it is three of Arteta’s favourites that are the guys making the most errors and the ones who seem to struggle most with this system and also in the most important positions to play said system: Xhaka, Luiz, and Leno]

The Arsenal

Its weird. I think Arteta has massively improved us defensively despite chopping and changing the CBS all the time and the Fbs havent been consistent. The last 2 or 3 months in particular even in games we have lost we no longer give away that many chances. Leicester had no shots on target after their goal. Our overall defensive structure is pretty good but the individual errors continue. Alot of this teams problem stem from our midfielders passing backwards and being unable to drive forward or dribble with the ball if there are no passing options. Alot of our players… Read more »

Grabs

If we don’t address it against the scum , their Olympic division ng team , ie Kane and son will rip us a new one

Grabs

Diving

Tapps

Totally agree – and I think that this is largely down to our not having a natural captain on the pitch. A captain can gee the team up and force greater concentration by continual barking of instruction and encouragement. I love Auba, but really don’t see him as captain material.

d0ey

I like how Odergaard even repeats “when a player makes a mistake” in his answer – can’t have it happening just once. At what point do we just call it what it is – a massive fuck off glitch in the matrix?

YaGunnersYa

Nice gøal, Martin!

Alex

Channelling his inner gladiator in that pic “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED”

Keep it Real

Leno really needs to be coached in pass selection – he has sold xhaka and ceballos in less than a week! He would be popular with quite a few I am sure

Daveo

Pity we chose the good not great goalie.

ElGunnerLoco

Leno is a poor man’s Szczesny, and Szczesny himself has always been error prone, so that sums it all up I reckon… how we kept him as number 1 and sold rock-solid Martinez, is really beyond me. Well, based on his PL credentials, one amazing appearance for us so far, and most importantly gifts that Leno keeps on giving to the opponents, I reckon it’s time to make due with what we have and place our trust in Ryan as our new no.1 to see how he fares in the role… could well prove to be the keeper we didn’t… Read more »

The Arsenal

Leno did not cover himself in glory but on both occasions Xhaxa and Ceballos could have played first time passes. I expect half decent centre mids to be able to deal with both situations

matt keeler

Great game Martin. Recovered from a nervy start and took game by scruff of neck.
Still think ESR is better in that position but our best team definitely contains both of them

Up4GrabsNow!

Who knew Odie had Thor’s hammer in his left peg?

Daveo

It had more the trickery of Loki

Chippy Brady

I’ve said it before. Our short to medium term future all depends on these next 3 rounds of Europa. Win the Europa and we’ve got a get out of jail free card for this season. I don’t care how we perform as long as we win these 6 games. It can’t be stressed enough how important this tournament is to us.

Santori

I wouldn’t big him up too much. Some of the play he made was decent, one memorable slice through ball first half to Auba on left. The goal was somewhat fortuitous bc the keeper should have done way better instead of help it in. That said, if you don’t gamble you don’t score. BUT feel ESR came on and gave more off ball runs. Also whilst Ceballos criminally guilty of trying to dribble when in danger zone and yet again costing us a goal, feel he is played too deep by Arteta and that we should be pushing him higher… Read more »

MojoWillneny

But for the wonder-strike, didn’t think he was at his best today. But I still really like Odegaard, i like his temperament on and off the pitch. He, like the rest of our new foundation of talent–Partey, Saka, Tierney, Pepe, Gabriel–have to take over the team’s culture with their level of play. That transition never happens quickly but that’s what rebuilding the team is all about; new, better players that set a new higher overall standard for the rest to aspire to.

It’s coming…a team is emerging from the rubble of the last several years.

Mtl-Gooner

Playing from the back it is not the problem, execution and positioning from the players is the problem. All these errors are due to lack of focusing and laziness to move around and create space for the ball to be played.