Friday, June 14, 2024

Arteta keen to ‘resolve’ captaincy issue, plays up Odegaard qualities

Mikel Arteta has outlined what he’s looking for in a club captain and praised Martin Odegaard for having many of the necessary qualities.

The Norway international wore the armband at the tail-end of last season when Alex Lacazette was confined to the bench and it’s expected he’ll be handed the responsibility on a full-time basis now that the Frenchman has departed.

Lacazette took over from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at the turn of the year after the Gabon international was exiled for disciplinary matters before being allowed to leave the club.

Several other squad members have captained the Gunners in the last few years with Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tierney, Mo Elneny and Rob Holding all leading teammates into battle. Granit Xhaka, following a player vote coordinated by Unai Emery, also held the armband for a few months until his spectacular falling out with supporters in December 2019.

Prior to that Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, Arteta himself and Thomas Vermaelen all spent considerable spells out injured while captain. Coupled with acrimonious departures by their predecessors and the role has developed a reputation as a ‘poisoned chalice.’

“It’s been a topic that has been discussed a lot, especially externally, and that didn’t help,” said Arteta when asked about the captaincy in Orlando.

“Obviously it’s not been very consistent and with a lot of behavioural problems within those groups. That is something we want to resolve, do it naturally and bring a really strong leadership within the team.’

“I’m very clear how I want it,” he added. “The manager (Emery) has his own way. I’ve seen extremely successful teams run and led on that kind of vote and I’ve seen others that they haven’t been so good. It depends much more on the personalities and the human qualities you have.

“For me, the most important thing is that the other people – whether it’s coaches, staff members or players – when you talk, they listen to you. You don’t have to be talking all the time… the most important quality (is) you have to be able to transmit your thoughts and ideas in a powerful way. So you’re able to inspire people and get people behind you.”

Pressed on whether Odegaard will be the main man, he continued: “Martin has a lot of qualities that we want as a captain…one of them is that he thinks about the team before himself.

“He had a period at the start where he wasn’t playing, he was the first in training, the last to leave, asking the right questions – why he wasn’t playing, what he had to do – he was always listening, he was always helping his teammates. His attitude was absolutely phenomenal.”

Odegaard, who is fluent in Norwegian, Spanish and English, was made captain of his country at the age of 22 and believes he’s gradually improving on the leadership front.

“I think I’ve maybe improved that quality a little bit with the time and experience,” he told the BBC.

“I’ve been through a lot of things, ups and downs, and I think all that makes you stronger.”

He also thinks Arteta is fostering a sense of collective responsibility at Arsenal and that age doesn’t necessarily come into it.

“I think here everyone expects you to take that leadership even if you’re young,” he said.

“That brings the best out of the young guys coming through, so definitely I think everyone here feels like they need to be on their best and they need to take part of and take ownership of everything we do.”

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Cliff Bastin

Odegaard or me unless Vieira manages to usurp him.


‘Odegaard or me’. I vote for you Cliff.


We need a player called “Cliff”


He was known by the Arsenal faithful as ‘Boy Bastin.’

And ‘boy’ did he know where the back of the net was…

Left Testicle

Another vote for Cliff here.

Artetas Assistant

All you got is your ball and your vote then

🚪 🚶🏿‍♂️

Emi Rates

Nothing against Cliff but I vote Pedro!


yep , im with Cliff 100%

Cliff Bastin

Thabks everyone.

ene haseb

Captain Ø, here we go


My favourite thing about Odegaard is the intensity he brings to his game, and I think that will help his captaincy, particularly if we’re going to play a high energy pressing game.


Is Odegaard a starter for all the big matches, or could he be pushed out by others better than him? A captain needs to be a starter as well as a leader.


Hence one of Gabriel or Partey, they are the two definites I would go for as captain. Ramsdale no, due to him being a goalie, it’s best to have someone on the pitch (eg Adams, Vieira etc as two very strong captains we’ve had).


Sorry C.B can’t agree, don’t forget to hand your homework in tomorrow

The Beast

Yeah, I think Ødegaard’s a starter for all the big games. After the first month or so of last season, he was pretty much the 1st name on the team sheet along with Saka, Gabriel, White & Ramsdale.

Not sure who would/could push him out.


Thanks, I was asking a question…

Crash Fistfight

People don’t take kindly to that kind of thing round here.

hans andersson

What did Ödegård do at St James’ Park that make him captain material? What did coach assistant Arteta do? That match far up north will cover the club in shame for a long, long time…

Man Manny

I don’t this post to be honest.
If the game at St. James Park also served as an audition for the captaining capabilities of the players, we may have to pick our next captain from the new signings.


We can’t judge on one performance or even a few for that matter. My god, that’s like me saying look at the Chelsea game or the city game (admittedly we lost but we played better in that match against one of the best teams in europe). Personally if you can actually look logically at last season and get over the fact that for most the season we were performing well above expected levels them last season was a big improvement. A few injuries aside and we would of got fourth (something no one thought would happen at the beginning of… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

I would give it to Gabriel (CB is a good position for being a captain).


Thanks from CB!

Though be prepared for the downvotes – see above…

Alan Sunderland

I’ve read that Gabriel’s English isn’t very good, talking to referees and interviews are a big part of the job. I wasn’t blown away by odegaard on his loan, but he win me over last season with his attitude and work rate. I think he’s the obvious choice.


That is so true – the minimum requirement for all captain’s is absolutely zero losses when there is mounting pressure – despite being in a position no one expected, in one of the most hostile environments in the EPL, with mounting injuries…. a loss to a resurgent side, flush with optimism at the tail end of a long season of overachieving should bar him from holding captaincy anyway – no chance to grow from that experience.

The Beast

What did anybody in an arsenal shirt do in that match? Luckily one match doesn’t define a season or career, so we won’t have to sell the lot & start over again.

Sorry you were so affected by that one game. Maybe try some meditation or something? I hear adult colouring books are quite therapeutic.

Crash Fistfight

I don’t get adult colouring books. The areas to colour in are so tiny, it looks like it would be infuriating. How is that supposed to clear your mind? I’d much rather just colour in, in big swathes of colour.

PN Freely

That’s not very Christian of you.


Yeah. All of two months.


Ode is a great captain


Martin we’ve decided to make you captain.
That’s good.
The captaincy is cursed.
That’s bad.
But you get to wear #11
That’s good.
#11 is also cursed.
That’s bad.
But you get to play as a double pivot reversal press initiator with rear axle DMC
That’s bad.

Man Manny

Give it to Ødegaard; make Ramsdale his vice; move on to the next signing.


Spot on.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Since 2006, has any Premier League club had more captains than Arsenal? I doubt it. Ideally, we need a leader who will consistently do a great job for the best part of a decade


Regular viewers will know that I was always hitherto a big KT advocate, as far as the captaincy is concerned.

Since then, however, I have to say that I have been very impressed with Martin Odegaard, who seems to display an almost Beckham-like calmness to the job.

He’s not afraid of having a word with the officials or his players when the need arises – and most of all, it hasn’t affected his game. Quite the opposite; he seems to thrive on the responsibility.

In short, for what it’s worth, he gets the nod from me. 👍

Santi’s Thigh Grab

The captain needs to have the same level of seriousness as the manager and understand the manager’s tactical approach to the game. Odegarrd is part of the one brain concept who seems to have the respect and admiration of the manager. Also he was the first big name for Arteta to secure, so there something to being that first signing that attracts others. He will grow with the squad.


Yep. Well said.


You may associate jumping up and down, constantly shouting and gesticulating like a maniac with “seriousness” – I don’t.

I think it’s imperative that our captain be far more serious than the manager.


What insight, sky sports awaits!

Crash Fistfight

I assume he/she means seriousness in terms of focus on results.

I don’t necessarily think the jumping up and down, etc. or its reverse is any indicator of seriousness. It’s just that different people have different personalities.

I couldn’t care less whether the manager acts like a maniac or is as cool as a cucumber. What is important is whether they get results. It remains to be seen whether Arteta is truly effective, but him acting like an idiot on the sidelines isn’t going to tell us one way or another.


I was loving your take until you dragged in Beckham. Odegaard is certainly more concerned about the game than his hairstyle, fashion and the flashlights fortunately for us


Come on mate, fairs fair. If you love football, you have to admit that David Beckham was an incredible player.

He was also linked with us for a while before joining Real Madrid.

I for one would have loved to have seen him join the Invincibles. He would have slotted in perfectly, the same way Sol Campbell did when he joined us – and left that lot up the road throwing their toys out of their prams.

Crash Fistfight

I was never a fan of him as a player (Arsenal would never really want someone to play out wide who basically just crossed as soon as they got the ball), but he definitely turned me around on him as a person, and I think he was a very good captain for England.

A Different George

Odergaard is pretty clearly the tactical leader on the pitch, the guy who sees the broader picture and helps direct his teammates as the game state changes. I think Xhaka is the other guy who does this, but that bridge is burnt.




That’s a good shout.



My only worry with Odegaard is his age. A young captain when there’s much older players in the squad can be an odd dynamic. Will they really respect and listen to him?


It’s not about telling players what to do, its about getting people aligned to the message and mindset of the manager. The captain has be one that the players trust – as selfless and team-centric as Ode is…. I think it goes without saying that the team will follow. Being a leader isn’t about being the one that people have to listen to, its about being the want the people want to listen to, or turn to when they need the guidance. Ode knows what’s going on, and is an extension of Arteta on the pitch – if we can… Read more »


Although we will quite understandably have a view as fans it is virtually impossible for us to have an informed view, we watch these guys playing football a couple of times a week and although football obviously comes into it the Captaincy has as much to do with what players are like as people and how they are viewed by the others within the group, we can’t possibly know that from where we sit. Ode is a great prospect but still goes missing in games a bit so maybe not quite ready yet?, Partey should be a logical thought from… Read more »


Whilst it’s natural for us as fans to have an opinion on this it’s virtually impossible to have an informed one, we see these guys play matches but I would imagine there is more to consider than how they perform there, it’s as much to do with what they are like as people, how the others relate to them and where they are on their own development path, we can’t know that. Ode is a great prospect but maybe a season too soon for him?, Partey should be a logical thought but he never seems to get a mention?, could… Read more »


The captain should first and foremost be one of the best players on the pitch, the first or second name on the teamsheeet. Always. Odegaard is not that guy. He’s probably not even our best player in the number 10 position anymore and picking him every game really limits our formation and tactics. Arsenal need to stop overthinking this captaincy thing and just pick Ramsdale and call it a day. There should be multiple leaders on the pitch anyway.

El Mintero

Yup. ESR > MO @10.

The Beast

Who’s our best player in the 10 position if not Ødegaard?


ESR is a ball carrier not a provider. Most of what happened well on offense ran through Odegaard. Top 3 in chance creation per 90.


Ødegaard is cerebral and a tactical student of the game, which gives him another dimension compared to the other candidates (Ramsdale, Gabriel, KT). Probably not as naturally charismatic as Ramsdale but understands Arteta’s philosophy on a deeper level and can transmit it on the field. The question is whether he’ll have the intensity and character to influence players several years older than him and impose himself on the team and the game.


Apart from all leadership skills a captain should have, I think the captain should be the one who is likely to start 30+ games per season. If Ode is gonna start that many, let’s go for it.
Ramsdale is also a potential captain, but probably not right now.
I would go for Ben White as well. He has many of the attributes.


We all know that xhaka is the player and coach cpt.if it wasn’t for fan and that incident he would have been given that armband back already
You can see all last season how player act/behave around him
Hate him as much as you like ,deep down you know its the truth


Yup. That’s why our team has so often appeared rudderless and leaderless – and why we imploded last season when the chips were down.

We badly need an upgrade.


Nothing against Odegaard but I’d like to see Gabriel or White given the opportunity.


An Ode to the Arsegaard please !!!

A Different George

I was very impressed with Tim Stillman’s explanation of why Kieran Tierney is not a really a “leader” on the pitch in the sense that we mean for a captain. My take on Tim’s point: Tierney’s best qualities–and they’re wonderful to watch–all involve his willingness to just go and do it; they’re very individualized, not based on the overall structure of the team. I think I mangled the explanation, but if you go back and find it, it’s very persuasive.


Who do I think Arteta should pick for captain?

The answer is whoever he actually picks, because he knows 1000x more than I do about who it should be.


I like Odegaard a lot as a player.
But he is no Vieira or Adams
In fairness to Odegaard there is no one at Arsenal who could be described as a leader at Arsenal and I think this is a major reason why we came unstuck last season…

El Mintero

Odegaard is about as influential as a fucking wet blanket. Absolutely not captain material.


Well done Minty.

You’ve just cemented my opinion that he is captain material and the right man for the job. 😊


Amazing how many times your take is opposite of what is real. 3rd most chances created per 90 in the league. Now if the boys had their scoring boots on…


If BLM is anything to go by,I vote for Pepe


Something about the tone of this seems insincere and belittling to BLM.

The Beast

What an odd comment.

Out of curiosity, why mention BLM in a post about the captaincy & Pepe?


I can think of two reasons:
1. – our last great captain was Vieira.
2. – [something personal about the OP I don’t want to write].

The Beast

I know which one of those I’m skewing towards, but I try to give ppl the benefit of the doubt

Thierry Eboue

Tierney or the big Ø, I’m cool with either. Two great leaders, even if one gets injured a lot.

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