Monday, April 22, 2024

Arteta and Saka praise consistency of leader Odegaard

Mikel Arteta and Bukayo Saka were full of praise for captain Martin Odegaard as the Norwegian set the tone for Arsenal’s win at Newcastle with an all-action performance that included his third goal in five days.

After netting a first half brace against Chelsea on Tuesday, the Norway international teed up another three points with a precise long-range effort that temporarily stuck a pin in the fervent St James’ Park atmosphere.

The goal, his 15th of a stellar Premier League campaign, drew Odegaard level with Gabriel Martinelli as the club’s top scorer this season and equalled the tally achieved by Cesc Fabregas in 2009/10; the most goals by an Arsenal midfielder in a single league campaign.

The 24-year-old should have broken the Spaniard’s record before the break but was twice denied by Nick Pope who was in inspired form.

Asked what Odegaard brings to the team, Arteta told his post-game press conference: “The leadership he is showing and the levels of consistency which is what you demand from those leaders.

“It’s not moments, it’s every single day. Home and away, he’s had some huge performances, he’s really helping the team, he’s growing in the right direction. We are all very happy to have him.”

Saka was similarly effusive in his praise. “He’s a fantastic leader, he has been all season,” the winger told

“He’s been leading by example, on and off the pitch. Hopefully he can continue this form.

“We needed that goal because we were under pressure early on. The first few chances definitely went their way and they had a penalty shout too. After that we scored a fantastic goal, from then we controlled the game.”

In beating Newcastle, Arsenal closed the gap on leaders Manchester City to a point having played an extra game. Pep Guardiola’s side face a busy week; first heading to Real Madrid for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final before travelling to relegation-threatened Everton on Sunday.

After dropping important points in April, the Gunners have to hope for a couple of slip-ups from the reigning champions who are currently on a 10-game winning streak in the league.

Midfielder Jorginho, voted man-of-the-match at St James’ Park, says he won’t be playing close attention to City’s matches.

“I will be honest with you, I am not watching their games – because if we don’t win here, it doesn’t matter,” he told the Evening Standard.

As long as we are winning, we are doing our part. At the end, we are going to see what happens. We don’t know [what will happen].

“We know what we can do and we need to focus on that. Then they have their things to do and they have things to think. That’s it.”

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Mostly, amazing.


Odegaard actually hasn’t been consistent, and that’s the problem.

I thought he was brilliant yesterday, and easily the man of the match. But during certain games he has gone missing: the match at The Etihad is the best example.

He’s a great player but not a great leader: Jorginho was running the show yesterday and was the de facto captain.

A lack of leadership is the main problem that the team has right now. If Rice comes in this summer maybe he could be made captain.

But Odegaard is a fantastic player on his day.


Surely the fact he has equalled the record for open play goals from a midfielder in a single season suggests he has more on-days than not. Which suggests consistency. He’s easily been one of our best players this season.

Johnny 4 Hats

Also, the whole big game narrative?

Goal away against Newcastle
Goal away against Tottenham
Two against Chelsea

Not having that one.

Sometimes Odegaard gets marked off the field. But the only reason teams do that is because he’s so damn good. It’s then up to the rest of the team to carry the mantle. He can’t score and create in every game.

Johnny 4 Hats

Thought it was funny that Nick Pope didn’t get any stick for the Odegaard goal though.

I’d be disappointed if Ramsdale didn’t get to a 30 yard daisy cutter.

Johnny 4 Hats

Also thought it was hilarious that G Nev came armed with his pre-ordained narrative for the entire game.

Even when the OG went in, he said something like “Well, they’ve had a lot of fortune this season”.

Bless him. Hates us. And it’s mutual.

Harry Callahan

Blog must be a BIGGG fan of Ode coz its a rare treat to see him here defending players:) I am a fan of Ode too..And overall I think he has been MaRRVELLLOUS this season both as captains and in terms of performance. – BUT I do think he has room to improve in terms of consistency . From what I have seen Ode does have a tendency to drift out from phases of some games for a substantial period and as a result would have minimal impact alltogether on these games overall. In contrast, Saka for example, may have… Read more »


I dont agree with this, Odegaard has been our player of the season in my opinion. Maybe there was a case for it being Saka up until the last month and run of games, but Martin has consistently performed game in game out this campaign. Sure there have been the odd match when he hasn’t been at his magical best, but he is human, and I can only really think of one or two of those occasions. 15 goals and 7 assists is absolutely remarkable, you’re talking about a goal or assist every 1.5 matches. And of the goals he… Read more »


Until our run of dropped points, I had Marty as player of the season for the whole league. Hard to hang onto that with Haaland going bonkers and us giving away the lead and probably the title. But without doubt Marty is a finalist for the award. He’s been sublime this season. Without him we’d be no where near this level. Saka has also been brilliant, but I would argue he is the more inconsistent of the two players. Sadly, Saka’s dip in form has hurt a bit (obviously losing saliba too).


Love them both. I would give the edge MO as he seems to enable Saka to be better more than Saka helps MO. But that is slight nitpicking. Looking forward to their joint tenure as Gunners for the next 5-6 years at least.


Again I don’t get why Martinelli isn’t even in these conversations. He’s scored more goals than Saka and I’d argue has had less duds. Why is he not even mentioned? Same with Ramsdale. Hasn’t scored obviously but I’d argue has been just as instrumental to our success as any of our main 3 attackers.


For Martinelli it is probably total goal involvements. Saka has 24, MO has 22 and Martinelli 20. But hey GM is fantastic too – glad he will be around for awhile too.


I think we sometimes set the bar for our players so high, they are doomed to fail. Yes, he does not dominate every single game, and he wasn’t particularly good in neither of the Man City games, but there is a reason for that. It is basically the toughest games you can play in football right now. But the big game story that is being told about this 24 year old which only plays his third full season for a team in any of the top 5 leagues is just weird to me. He scored the first against shit away,… Read more »

Cannon and ball and arse’n’all

I do get what you are saying here fats on the consistency front – but when you play an advanced position you will never be great in every game, as that position is dependent on the entire team clicking on the day. If the team is not performing then the advanced players can be anonymous for sustained periods – but even when that is the case MO puts in the graft albeit may not affect play in the way he’d want to if he cannot get on the ball… On the leadership front I don’t see how you can level… Read more »

Santi’s Thigh Grab

Honestly that is such a poor interpretation of actual data.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Odegaard could have been competing with Saka for PL player of the year. They let that go during those four games although both are great players. Ee should have been calling them world-class players. This one too will have to wait, hope until next year.

Naked Cygan

I think you’re being a bit harsh on Odegard. We can’t expect him to perform 9/10 every game. Also, the city game every player was at fault not just Odegard. For his age and what he has done so far we have to be proud. I am one of the biggest critics and I always look for perfection but given what he has done this season we should be very happy. I wouldn’t swap him with any other capitan in the league.


Leadership can be understated as well. And there isn’t a player on any team who doesn’t have a stinker now and then. And like Jonny said when it does happen the opposition spends all their energy shutting him down. That’s why captainship isn’t just performance. They set the tone, they set the bar. Martin might be our hardest working player, as professional as it gets, humble, always available so must take care of himself (knock on wood). By the time his career ends we’ll be talking about him like Bergkamp.


He has been outstanding. Most of the recent dropped points were due to mistakes by other players. It was mainly down to Odegaard’s goals we even got any points from the West Ham and Southampton games. Player of the season.


He can only be consistent, (applies to any creative mid) if he’s got the ball at his feet. I rewatched about 25 mins of the Etihad 1st half and he only got the ball a couple of times. No way you can have an impact with that sort of service. Jesus was also dropping down further to get the ball as well, so Odegaard didn’t have that option available to him (to also drop and get the ball, or maybe his instructions were different). If your complaint is that he doesn’t take over games, I’m not sure I buy it.… Read more »


Name me one “consistent” player in the premier league this season in your opinion, and I am sure we’ll be able to call up games where they were “missing”.

Do you understand anything about how elite-level football works?

I know being contrary is your claim to fame but you just look ridiculous.

El Gooner

Are you eating magic mushrooms fat Gooner, because you’re watching a very different Odegaard to what I am???


Not a great leader….?!!

He leads by example, has an old head on young shoulders, is mature, dedicated and never shies away from any given situation – whatever happens, he’s in there letting the ref know what he thinks.

He’s easily the best captain we’ve had since Vieira.


A lack of leadership? We have leaders all over the pitch – Odegaard, Ramsdale, Xhaka, Saliba, Zinchenko, Jesus. It’s no surprise, really, when you think about it, that we’ve been top of the table for well over 90% of the season. We haven’t had this many leaders in the team since the Invincibles. It’s just that they are, for the most part, still youngsters and still learning. Look at their individual and collective potential; it’s off the charts. If Arteta keeps this group together for the next five years and tweaks as necessary, then the sky’s the limit. They can… Read more »


The leadership is so fantastic that the players crumble and fall apart as soon as the finishing line appears.

Both this season and last the players haven’t been able to handle the pressure of the run-in. We collapsed and lost five out of nine games to throw away a top-four place last year. This year we only picked up three points from twelve when the Title came into view.

Would that happen under Adams or Vieira?

No chance.

We need strong leadership,

89 again

96/97, 98/99, 02/03. All teams that finished with fewer points than we will this season. All teams that went on to win things.


As I keep trying to tell you mate, it isn’t over yet. Your insistence to talk about the team’s performance this season in the past tense rather than the present tense is wearing a bit thin. Fuck last season; we have smashed top four this year and are on course to match our record amount of Premiership points. If you can’t see that that is an amazing amount of progress, then I feel sorry for you and your inability to appreciate all the good things that have happened since August. At least wait until the season is over before spouting… Read more »


I’d like to see odegaard get another this season and take the ‘record’ from cesc, who I still haven’t forgiven for being a twat.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

What did Cesc do?


He fucked off.


Left us when we needed him most.

Ditto Adebayor.
Ditto Nasri.
Ditto RVP.

They let Wenger, the fans and the club down, all of them.


Adebayor and Nasri were merchants. Cesc loved and symbolized the club but chose to leave despite being our captain and talisman. RVP looked at what Cesc did and thought he wants some of that too. I’m still bitter about Cesc. He also left for a penny since he forced his move to Barca, making us accept a low offer.

Harry Callahan

Yeah too …Cesc may have been a marvelous player for us but I can’t love him no more…

Santi on the other hand, I hope I c him back at the Emirates in whatever capacity… Here is a player who genuinely loves his time playing for us.


On his day he is on a level with De Bruyne and remember he is seven years younger than the city midfielder. I appreciate that others have said that he was anonymous in our two most important games this season – both against Man City but I don’t think that is down to his consistency but more of our failure to get our tactics right on the day. I don’t know how the rest of the season will pan out, but whatever happens I know that Arsenal will be even stronger next season. We can finish on 90 points for… Read more »


It’s his day…a lot. And hence, he’s on par with Prince Harry de Bruyne most of the time. He’s a major reason why I feel (barring injury disaster) we should be pretty solid for a top 4 (and hopefully more) next season. He raises our floor up a long way.

Cannon and ball and arse’n’all

Agree with this 100%. Where were de bruyne and Salah at MOs age? The answer I believe is either Chelsea reserves of on loan at Wolfsburg or the like, just before they were sold off as they could not break into the Chelsea first team. We have a player who at that age is our captain and is producing 15 G and 7 A in the prem. Maybe under a different model we get £20m from Wolfsburg and in a few years a team pays much more to get them when they are at their peak, but personally I’d prefer… Read more »


at the same age, kdb was already at city.

Naked Cygan

I have to say that was the most satisfying and complete performance I have seen this season. Every player put in a great performance and I was very impressed by Tierney when he came on. Maybe time to start him ahead of Zinchenko next game. Ramsdale and Xhaka, wow they were amazing. This kind of performance next season on a regular basis should see us challenge for the title again. Overall we have to be very proud of the team.


Even though Brighton got destroyed today I’m having nightmares over what Solley March ( 2nd half sub) could do to Zinchenko in his current from as White will have his hands full with Mitoma on the other side.


March pulled his hamstring so hopefully doesn’t start


Out for us, but back for City. 😉


Everton, it has to be said, did the business yesterday.

Their front three, their defence and their keeper looked really good – let’s hope they continue along the same lines next Sunday.


What would he fetch now? You’ve got to be looking at skywards of £100m?

Even £90m doesn’t seem enough to me, not in this crazy market.

That can safely now be said of Saka, Martinelli and Saliba. I’d want at least £120m for Saka.

You’d certainly now want at least £90m (each) for Jesus, Ramsdale, Gabriel and Balogun and £80m (each) for White and ESR.

The rest? I wouldn’t let any of them go for anything less than £50m – £70m (each) depending on age and/or experience.

As for Arteta – the guy is priceless….!!


Bill Hall

My player of the season with some big goals in big games! Martinelli and Saka have also been excellent as well as Rammy. Saka has gone off the boil a bit but then he has no cover in that position and is only 20 still is it? The lad is only human!
Imagine him in a couple of years with proper back up!

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