Arteta talks Odegaard, prepping players for the derby & avoiding red cards


“I don’t think he’d like that comparison!”

That was Mikel Arteta’s response when he was asked whether he sees a bit of himself in summer signing Martin Odegaard.

It’s easy to understand why the question was asked. Both moved abroad at a young age to pursue football careers at prestigious clubs (Arteta to PSG and Odegaard to Real Madrid), both played in attacking midfield roles, both have experience playing for Real Sociedad, both made a move to Arsenal.

Despite some obvious parallels, it’s understandable why the boss is keen to avoid unnecessary labels as Odegaard tries to lay down roots in north London.

“He’s Martin,” said Arteta. “He’s an exceptional footballer, he’s still young, he’s got a big gap to develop his game and his leadership skills as well. We are on the way to help him as much as possible to fulfil his potential which I think is really big.”

Ahead of Sunday’s north London derby it was also put to the Spaniard that Odegaard was signed to be the difference-maker in big matches. Having already bagged the winner as a loanee in the same fixture last year, Arteta was inclined to agree.

“First, [we signed him] because he’s a very consistent player and we like the qualities he brings to the team, how he’s around the place. And then, because he can decide football matches and big football matches, he did that last year.”

While Odegaard has already experienced a local derby, albeit without fans, there are a number of players in the Gunners squad who’ve yet to feature in red and white against our neighbours. Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White and Takehiro Tomiyasu are well-placed to start from the off, while Nuno Tavares and Sambi Lokonga could make the bench.

Arteta has promised they’ll be prepared for the blood and thunder of the occasion although he wouldn’t let in on what he specifically plans to say.

“I will do it in the dressing room, the way I normally do things that are a little bit more private,” said the boss.

“Every game, we have to find something to relate to the game and the momentum we are in. Whether it’s a motivational thing, whether it’s something we want to reinforce or pinch players, you have to find all the time that little button.

He added: “It’s a fixture that goes down through history. If you’re able to win and have a big impact on that win, our supporters are not going to forget it. It’s a beautiful thing to be part of.”

Given the fans have waited two years to fill the Emirates for a north London derby, you can be sure the atmosphere will be red hot. Cool heads are going to be needed. Last season, the Gunners picked up more red cards in the Premier League than any other team and often paid a heavy price. Indiscipline is something the boss knows his players need to cut out.

“Obviously, if we do what we did last year and we play four or five games with 10 players then we are going to suffer in this league,” he said.

“It’s something we want to eradicate. We need 11 players on that pitch, that’s 100 per cent sure and we have to play with cool minds and understand what are the limits in the game and what you can and cannot do.”

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There’s a rather obvious way to reduce our probability of getting red cards.

Jeremy DG

Brown paper envelope?


Roni Size style?


with rozelle

Arsenal’s Slow Build Up

Have Michael Corleone make the referee an offer he can’t refuse?


Inanimate Carbon Rod?


Swiss Miss.

(A brilliant Laurel and Hardy film. Check it out, after you’ve finished laughing at Cedric and Elneny)

Bleeding gums murphy

Obviously all players were told that at start of the season and have taken it on board, cool minds and understand what you can and cannot do. I pray he doesn’t run out onto the pitch tomorrow. It will make me feel physically ill. Just move on from him ffs.


It’s too late, pal.

Arteta extended his contract – as you do…

And now he’s got to justify it – the same as he had to with Willian.

Great, isn’t it? Having a manager who knows exactly what he’s doing……..🙄


Give it a rest mate


Think that’s translated as get behind the team


Less Xhaka then

Johnny 4 Hats

Just for a bit of context, and I’m not saying Granit isn’t rash and reckless, but he’s only been sent off 4 times in 6 years.

I think we bundle in red cards with general brain farts, which there have been far more. But I would imagine there are a lot of players with a worse disciplinary record that go unchecked. Usually England Internationals get a “he’s not that sort of player” excuse that Granit would never be privy to.

He’s 28 years old and he has been sent off 13 times in his career. 133 yellow cards. There wouldn’t be many with a worse disciplinary record than that.

He also picked up 10 yellow cards in the Premier League three seasons in a row in 17/18, 18/19, 19/20 which would have meant further suspensions.

Johnny 4 Hats

Viera was at arsenal six seasons and got 8 reds and 76 yellows. But we accept this because he was a combative midfielder and plays in a position that often needs to be physical and make tactical fouls.

I’m sure if you looked at Fernandinho, Fabinho, Pogba… you’d find similar stats. It’s partly just par for the course of a DCM.


And Vieira was World class , not something granit xhaka is often mistaken for.


Aaaah! You got in there before me…!!

Well said, Daveo. 👍🍺


Wasn’t Vieira at Arsenal for 8 years?

Johnny 4 Hats

Sorry, you’re right. I stand corrected.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

One was the worlds best in his position, who made the team better whenever he was on the pitch. The other is average at best.


His red cards rate (1 every 41 games) is the 9th worst in EPL history.

Along with giving away more penalties that he’s conceded more penalties than anyone else in EPL history.
(filter for midfielders all seasons)

Quite the resume.

Johnny 4 Hats

Yup. It’s the brain farts that ruin him more than disciplinary problems.

Personally I’m fine with 4 reds in 6 years. Especially when Wenger used him as a lonely last ditch midfielder. Two of his four reds came in his first season. So it’s two in last five years. Not too bothered about that.

I might have taken a draw if offered a few weeks ago, however their last 4 games have been 0-3, 2-2, 0-3, 2-2 so they are certainly leaking in goals lately.

Arteta usually throws a curveball into the team selection, but I suspect he’s going to roll with the same 11 which started at Burnley.

Xhaka hasn’t played in 4 weeks. If Arteta starts him and we lose, he’ll be absolutely vilified. Just not sure he’s going to risk that.

Tomiyasu v Son is going to be a fantastic battle.


is genuinely hard to see xhaka getting back into this midfield. we are better with a 1-2 than a 2-1 in midfield and lokonga has to be ahead of xhaka as first reserve in any of the three midfield positions now. the team already seems to have a much better balance without having to rearrange everyone to fit around xhaka’s flaws.

should be good for the blood pressure to watch and NLD without him involved.


I agree with everything you’ve said.

Now, what’s the betting that Arteta plays him anyway…..?



Nainsley Aitland Miles

See if Arteta plays Xhaka and we win, suddenly both are heroes again overnight. The fickle life of a football fan!


You speak for a lot of people on here – but not me, mate.

Heroes….?! Those two…..?!!

I’m now thinking of Del Boy and Rodney, running along in their Batman and Robin costumes……

Disarmed Gunner

They are leaking goals and we can’t score goals. So, this isn’t gonna end well for us.


One goal from open play in over seven hours of Premiership football.

Be Excited.


I honestly don’t think that Arteta spends time worrying about what people outside the club will think when it comes to him and his coaching staff picking the team sheet. I was listing to Stillberto talking about the match on Arsenal Vision podcast and he expects Xhaka to start. He makes a strong case for it and sites the partnership between Xhaka & Partey towards the end of last season as a reason to think positively about it. What ever the managers decision, the one thing that we can all agree on is that we need to beat Spurs. I… Read more »


I don’t disagree, however it’ll be interesting to see his stance on “we can’t keep getting red cards” when the main culprit is now available after suspension.


Arteta doesn’t listen to anyone but Mikel Arteta.

Which is exactly why we’re currently in the state that we are.


So he should be listening to the experts on this board? It’s clear you think he should be listening to you. I’m glad he isn’t.

The Beast

Genuine question. Is there anything Arteta can do, bar resigning, that you would actually agree with & possibly compliment him for?

No judgement either way. Just genuinely curious.


He could try changing his ‘style’ of football from the utter bore fest of yore to an all-out attacking style – he’s certainly got the players to do it.

But you and I – and everyone else – know that he’s not ever going to.

So, there’s your answer – irrelevant though it may be.

The Beast

Fair enough. Could just be me but in his 1 1/2 years I’ve seen him change the style of play, as well as the system with differing levels of success. I’m guessing that’s not enough for you? I don’t think the side’s always played boring football. Quite liked some of the football we played last season post xmas as well as some of the counter attacking football we played in his 1st season. Do you think it’ll be possible to switch immediately to an out & out attacking style? Also, do you think that’ll affect defence, as I think that’s… Read more »


Like I said – for the very reason that attacking football and Arteta are poles apart – it’s not going to happen. If you’re happy with this club finishing 8th, passing backwards and sideways and scoring one goal from open play in over seven hours, then fine, you crack on. Yes, it’s not enough for me, for the sole reason that it’s not enough for this wonderful club that we all love. Breaking quickly from a defended corner, sprinting into the opposition half – only then for the player to remember that he is under strict instructions from the manager… Read more »

The Beast

When did I say I was happy finishing 8th or happy with any other objectifiably shit aspect of the past couple of seasons? You seem desperate to portray things in a binary great/shit, with me/against me kind of light. I’m completely comfortable criticising Arteta for his mistakes but also capable of giving him his due when I feel he’s doing something right. Fair enough that’s all a matter of opinion but I just find the complete reluctance to acknowledge any positive influence from Arteta odd & a bit reductive. But whatever floats your boat. It’s all entertainment at the end… Read more »


Well, we got there in the end, didn’t we?

I gave you honest answers to your questions – you insinuate that my opinion is reductive.

There’s nothing more reductive than a football result, my friend.

Entertainment? I suggest you read – if you haven’t done so already – Nick Hornby’s book ‘Fever Pitch’ – and see what he has to say on the theory of football as merely ‘entertainment.’

Merson's Grin

“you and I and everyone else” No mate, just you.


We’ll see…..


I absolutely expect Xhaka to start.

As much as it pains me to say it, it’s probably the right choice too.

Lokonga looks a hell of a prospect and we’re rightly excited about him. But he’s currently benefiting from being not Xhaka. He is young, he’s adapting to the premiership, he’s barely played with Partey. It’s too soon for a NLD in my opinion.


We know all about Xhaka already after his time at Arsenal. I’d choose Lokonga over him any day now. Xhaka can be a decent backup, also a sub to shore things up in midfield.


is this a pattern i see here??? another 3 goals fiesta? hmmm?

Disarmed Gunner

“I will do it in the dressing room, the way I normally do things that are a little bit more private,” said the boss.

Only it’s not gonna be private as Amazon are filming as we speak. TV gold when it gets released. Must confess I’m very curious to see how he speaks on a motivational level as I find he is quite robotic and long winded during his press conferences.


This is the most balanced squad since 2006, and probably strongest too


Balanced, maybe.

But the strongest since 2006?

I think that, even though our defence were a bunch of muppets, the class of 2015/16 were much better. But for the defence, we would (and should) have had that Premiership title sewn up.

Still, let’s not upset the great brainwashed myth that Ozil did nothing and we were little more than a cup side during Wenger’s later years.


*Much better than 2021.

The Beast

What, even the 2008 squad? Not sure I agree with that.


Yep, good answer.


Another great side – Fabregas, Hleb, Rosicky, Flamini, Diaby, RvP, Adebayor – that was severely let down by its defence – namely Gallas and Co.

Another title we should have had in the bag, in addition to 2015/16.

It certainly blows apart the lazy brainwashed myth that people put about about Wenger’s first ten years being brilliant (and they were) to his second ten years being crap (when they weren’t as successful, but they weren’t crap either).

The Beast

Agree completely (though I personally prefer the 2008 vintage for that midfield).


It’s a close call for me – but I’ll give the lads of 2015/16 the edge – but only just. Again, it was the midfield – Cazorla, Ozil, Ramsey, Wilshere and The Ox. As for Alexis – he was on fire and Giroud, Welbeck and Walcott were all amongst the goals. It was the same as 07!08 – the defence cost us the title. I often wonder what would have happened to this club had we won those two titles and Henry had additionally put that chance away in Paris to put us 2-0 up against Barca in 2006. We… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Stronger than the 07/08 squad?


I think he’ll put xhaka straight back in I’m afraid


He will start Granit because he will feel that he needs his senior players on the pitch to ensure that the new and younger players don’t lose their heads.

Felt really odd writing that.


Odegaard’s continued development is key to ‘the project’. If he becomes the player we know he can m, then we have a spine through the middle of Ramsdale, Gabriel, Partey, Odegaard. All we’ll need at that point is a deadly 20-goal per season striker…

Laca New Signing

We have one


A bit of a dig at his performance last season. We never wanted to see what a season would look like without Auba’s normal goal production. But last year we found out.

He’s looking back to his best though. I will not be surprised if he wins it for us tomorrow…


Then keep Xhaka’s ass rooted to the bench!


Totally agree!

Emi Martinez clean sheet against Ronaldo. Love it.

Ray Parlour games

How about the pre penalty shenanigans when he insisted he wanted Ronaldo to take the pen. EMI is Mr clean sheet 24 in 58 premier League outings, he has transformed that leaky Villa defence. I always still support the players who have left us who I liked when they were here.


Xhaka’s biggest problem is that he’s called Granit Xhaka. If he was playing for England and called Declan Rice he could commit two equally bad fouls (as Xhaka’s at Man City) in one game, and get only a yellow for the second one. The last time we had such a marked man, it was Emmanuel Petit. At least the fans stuck up for him, though.


Not expecting much. OTOH some results ahead of us to encourage. If we beat spurts, it’ll be something to build on. We need to target their left back Emmerson. Thus far been impressed with Tavares and Tomiyaso has been decent. Tierney should start left, Cedric still an option right. Don’t agree with our spending strategy in the least, we’ve wasted a ton of money. but we need to get on with what we have. Worry is our midfield. Does Arteta risk Xhaka? (I mean talk about avoiding red card) He may be the best pairing with Partey still. Is Laca… Read more »


In the end it boils down to motivation and tactics.

If Brentford can carve a result (results) what’s our excuse?

They played two up front and it reaped benefit.

Perhaps a reason at some point to use this when necessary as well. Laca and Auba have shown understanding with each other before.