Martin Odegaard’s brace against Wolves not only sealed three points for Arsenal at Molineux it also saw the Norwegian leapfrog Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli in the scoring rankings for the season.
With six goals and two assists in 13 Premier League appearances, our club captain has become a menace in and around the penalty box to decisive effect.
It’s not happening by accident. Like fellow midfielder Granit Xhaka, he’s been working on the timing of his runs into the box.
“I think I’m better at coming into those areas now – I attack the box more,” he told Arsenal.com.
“They may not be the most beautiful goals but I’m in the right places and that helps a lot. I’m always happy to help the team with goals.”
It’s just as well.
At the tail-end of last season, Mikel Arteta told his players that they needed to score between 90 and 100 goals to have any chance of challenging for the title.
Given his side netted 56, 55 and 61 times respectively in the last three seasons, stepping things up to that level looked like a tall order.
At the current run rate (2.35 goals per game), we’ll come very close to reaching the manager’s target.
The addition of Gabriel Jesus – despite a six-week goal drought – has certainly helped, as has the team’s improved ability to dominate possession.
In the aftermath of last night’s 2-0 win, Odegaard also pointed to other factors.
“We talked about it before the game, and we talked about it at half-time – it’s difficult to play against these teams with five at the back and we had to stay patient. I think we did and in the end, we got the goals.
“It was a tough one, I think we had to dig deep today. The first half was a bit slow, we were struggling on the ball to create chances really. They defended well and we know they’re always dangerous on the counter, so it was a difficult game.
“Then we changed a few things. We sped up the game a little bit in the second half and we know we have quality, so we’re always going to create something, but we did good to get the win.”