Martin Odegaard says Arsenal’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace on Monday was vital because building momentum at the start of the season has been a hot topic inside the dressing room.
The Gunners were far from their best at Selhurst Park but managed to ground out the three points even though the final 30 minutes were played with 10 men. Much to the annoyance of the usual suspects in the media, the players didn’t hold back in their celebrations at full time.
Coming off the back of a tight victory over Nottingham Forest on the opening day, it’s fair to say Arsenal have lots of room for improvement.
Writing in the official club programme, Odegaard says that’s fairly normal when players are still trying to find their rhythm.
“The win at Palace keeps our momentum going, and we spoke about that a lot last week, about how important it is to have a good start,” he said.
“That’s our challenge today as well, we know it can be tricky at the beginning of the season to be at your best.
“You are not 100 per cent in your best form at this stage of the season, and it can take time to build your rhythm, but at the same time, you have to win the games.
“It’s crucial to pick up these points, and build that confidence early on.”
Last season, the Gunners won their first five matches in a row – only the fourth time we’d done that in our history – secured nine wins in the opening 10 games and reached 20 wins after just 25 matches (stats via Arsenal.com). And still, we didn’t come out on top…so you can see why Martin recognises the importance of every single point.
On a similar theme, Ben White says Arsenal have to be on guard against the Cottagers who he expects to pose a similar threat to Monday’s vanquished Eagles.
“It’s going to be a tough game. They’re going to be coming to Arsenal wanting to get some points, so it’s our job to do what we need to do,” he told Arsenal.com.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game [against Palace]. They’re a very good side with a very good manager who knows what he’s doing. Especially with 10 men, it’s a hard place to go.
“I don’t think you’ve seen the best of what we can do. We’re looking to be better than last year.”
Also on media duty this week, Leandro Trossard spoke bullishly about going toe-to-toe with Manchester City again.
The Belgium international hit the ground running when he joined from Brighton last season but couldn’t stop the Gunners from running out of steam in the closing stages.
He’s confident that the latest recruits can prevent that from happening again.
“Kai, Timber and Declan are all great additions for the squad,” he told Arsenal.com.
“They all bring something and it’s competitive, so everyone has to be at the top of their game to perform well. It’s a really good bunch of lads and it’s nice to have them here.
“Declan’s a really good guy and, from the day he joined, I tried to help him to settle in. From that day we had a good connection. He’s a top player but also a top guy to speak with and we get along quite good.
“He can help us in ways we didn’t have before. All the players are happy with the team now. We want to win every game and that’s what we’re competing for.
“There’s more depth and how we compete, everyone has to be at the top of their game. Otherwise, they know they won’t be playing. That’s how you strive for greatness. We have such a good group at the moment, not only on the field but also off the field and that helps a lot to perform.
“We will definitely add some quality in different parts of the game. I feel like we’re stronger and it’s a long season with the Champions League as well of course.”
He added: “We have such a great squad with so much quality and if the game plan is there and we perform at our best we can challenge them.”