Sunday, April 21, 2024

Odegaard welcomes competition for places, praises Ramsdale’s attitude

Martin Odegaard has welcomed the increased competition for places at Arsenal and says the situation will ensure the team keeps improving.

The Gunners’ schedule means Mikel Arteta’s squad is likely to be stretched to the limit over the coming four weeks and he lay down a marker at Everton on Sunday with a lineup that raised a few eyebrows.

Fabio Vieira took over from summer signing Kai Havertz, Eddie Nketiah kept his place over Gabriel Jesus and loanee David Raya was handed his debut between the sticks at the expense of Aaron Ramsdale.

When Arsenal were forced into a change midway through the first half, the injured Gabriel Martinelli making way for Leandro Trossard, the Belgian demonstrated his quality with a winning goal that underlined the strength in depth on the bench.

“We have so many quality players, the players on the bench can come on and change the game if we need it,” Odegaard told the Press Association.

“The competition for places is huge and I think that is a great thing for us and helps a lot.

“You see in training every day the quality we have so everyone has to be on their best every day in training and that’s a good thing and will help us improve as a team as well.”

Odegaard went on to praise the quality of the goalkeepers at Arteta’s disposal and, in particular, the professionalism of Ramsdale, who, for the first time since he became the club’s undisputed number one two years ago, was benched.

“I think he [Ramsdale] will just keep working hard, like he is always doing,” said the Arsenal captain.

“He was there supporting us, cheering for us, helping us. He is a great character and he showed a very good response today by backing his team-mates, being there and giving us energy.

“Excellent from him. We have two good goalkeepers there and it’s big competition.

“Two top goalkeepers, different qualities, and both so good on the ball and in the goal as well.

“We are lucky to have two such good goalkeepers and we will see who will play, but both of them are excellent.”

In his post-game press conference and interviews, Mikel Arteta was repeatedly asked about why he had taken the bold decision to switch keepers. He gave an intriguing answer.

In just over 24 hours’ time, he’ll face more of the same. At 3.30pm (UK time) on Tuesday, the Spaniard sits down with the media again, this time to preview Arsenal’s first Champions League game in six years.

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Johnny 4 Hats

This is not in any way a jab at Wenger who was a fantastic father figure to so many arsenal lads. But we’ve really been missing this cut throat attitude at our club. So many players could turn up and give 6 out of 10’s and play for us for 4 or 5 seasons. Under Wenger, Ramsdale would be our number one until he decided to run his contract down and leave for free. It feels a bit painful because we simply aren’t used to it. But it’s the only way a club can achieve success in game which is… Read more »


Not that I’m defending Wenger just by way of explaining. I think it the 6/10 performance came about when it became clear that we were not able to compete financially and therefore sporting wise. Once financial doping came through, we fell back, we lost our best players the club vicariously represented by Wenger were content initially we CL qualifications as crumbs which served. Ironically only to wideneded the gap and accelerate our decline. I think that’s what hurt Wenger more than when he needed the club to back he felt scapegoated. All in the past now. But look at us… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

I agree. But I think at times he loved his players a little too much. And, as a result, put too much faith in them.

I just don’t see the likes of Giroud, Coq, Theo, Bellerin, Eboue, Arshavin, Vermaelen, Almunia… lasting more than a year or two with Arteta.


I find Giroud an intriguing experience. He seemed to stagnate at Arsenal and then achieved supremely, trophy wise after leaving us and not even for small clubs. Amazing.

Johnny 4 Hats

Yeah, it’s still a real bone of contention between Arsenal fans.

Personally, I thought he was decent enough. And his highlight reel is exquisite. But I just remember seeing him miss so many chances. And that will forever cloud my rose-tinted glasses.

Shame they didn’t have xG back then. Would’ve been really interesting to see if he out or under performed it.

My money is on under.

A Different George

I don’t want to stretch the comparison too far, but missing chances is what strikers, including great strikers, do repeatedly. Haland misses chance after chance. It looks like he could have a hat trick in every game, no exageration. About half of the time he does. Lewandowski, the rich man’s Giroud (okay, that was Benzema) misses plenty too.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Benzema is the middle-class Ronaldos (the two).


Agreed. Giroud in his prime would be an upgrade to Nketiah right now as an alternative to Jesus. IMO Eddie is like Jesus-lite, good player, but not as good as Jesus. Giroud would bring a different approach, and the other 5 in mids/forwards are superior to what we had around Giroud at that time. It was basically Alexis, who was brilliant, but perhaps a bit to focussed on his excellence, and Ozil who was the technical peer of any player on the planet, but was soft and lazy. Apart from those two it was a bit light. Ramsey was good,… Read more »


At his peak Ramsey was a brilliant box to box midfielder who also scored plenty of goals. Why compare him to any of those players as none of them play that role and was far from inferior. You also make the same mistake as so many do at calling Ozil lazy when all the stats proved otherwise. He wasn’t ever a good tackler even playing for Germany but soft and lazy he certainly wasn’t. Sadly as hard S he tries I can never see Eddie as the answer to our striker problem and 1regret we didn’t give Balogun a chance.


I was honestly one of Ozil’s biggest fans as he came through the ranks at Schalke and then Real. He was one of the best attackers in world football. Couldn’t believe we signed him, he had a couple good years with Arsenal, but he faded so hard and that fade out was on him. He lost motivation, his effort dropped and year after year he became softer and lazier. You say “wasn’t ever a good tackler” that’s not true. It wasn’t that he wasn’t good at it, it was that he never tried because he hated the physical stuff. Same as… Read more »

A Different George

Ozil was never a physical player, but he was not lazy. He did often fail to look angry and determined, and perhaps that is what is confusing you. As for tackles, I am not sure I ever want a player like that (or Santi or, for that matter, Odegaard) to be leaving his feet. I admire Aaron Wan-Biseka, but I don’t want him in Arsenal’s midfield.


Double strawman, in one argument. Well done mate, that’s an impressive effort!


Ramsey was at least good as Xhaka technically, I reckon he would’ve fit Arteta ball just fine.


Better than Xhaka honestly. He had some wonderful touches and passes when he was fully flowing in good form.


He didn’t want chances. He wanted confirm 1st 11 selection. Even Ramsdale isn’t guaranteed that, you wanted him to?

Yankee Gooner

Honestly cannot understand this perspective on Giroud–he’s one of 19 players to score 100 goals for Arsenal, and he did it faster than RvP and Bergkamp.


Not that you would know judging by the shoulder shrugs when he left. My point was not to question his quality but the apathy that followed his release and his subsequent success.

Teryima Adi

No matter how great you are as an actor, without a good supporting cast you are going nowhere. Giroud didn’t have that supporting cast at Arsenal which he had at Chelsea and still has ACM.


Giroud doesn’t deserve to be in that group. For the first time since Van Persie we had a 9 who you could confidently expect to contribute goals or assists and he had fantastic hold up play which changed the dynamic against large CB’s for the first time in ages. I think he’d fit pretty well with Arteta’s way of playing.


The rest I agree with but I think peak Giroud would be the perfect Arteta player in this system.

A Different George

I think the point Dada made is far more important. If you got rid of Walcott, Vermaelen, or Bellerin “after a year or two” (ie, pre-injury in Hector’s case) would you have the financial ability to replace them with better players? What right back was better than Hector at that point, and would Barcelona have sold him to us? Wenger got an awful lot out of flawed players–including top players like Van Persie, Alexis, and Ozil–and kept the club in the Champions League for an extra decade (which is what the owners demanded). If you are “ruthless” without money, you… Read more »



Heavenly Chapecoense

Why Coq? He is the equivalent of El Neny.


I think you’re wrong about Bellerin there. He was class until the injury, and decent after. Also think Giroud was very good for us, but not in the RvP league so could never quite fill his boots. Maybe moving club removed expectations of him.


I can understand that perspective – no-one has a right to a position. But in this instance having 2 keepers at such a high level feels like the wrong move, for 3 reasons: Ramsdale’s attitude since arriving has been amazing both from the fans perspective and for the team, we’ve missed that energy since Jens. There’s also the confidence aspect – keepers face unique psychological stresses and you should only look to replace an estbalished no. 1 if they’re not able to play themselves back into the form the team needs – Ramsdale played for parts of last year with… Read more »

Santi’s Phonebox

Arteta doesn’t agree with you.


Well said J4H. I think Arteta saw things to genuinely be concerned about with Rammers in the run in last season. His form waned. Then a very rare opportunity came up to sign one of the best GKs in the league (which makes him one of the elite GKs in world football) both statistically and visually in Raya – a player we’ve had a long-term interest in. So we pounced. Maybe if Rammers didn’t struggle in the run in last season, we might not make this move – maybe we do anyway?? But now we have 2 top class GKs,… Read more »

Mr Dob Bobalina

Maybe Raya will prevail, maybe not, but Ramsdale’s personality is such that a little adversity seems the best way to get him to the very very top level anyway. He has the potential.

Teryima Adi

With Raya and Ramsdale, Arteta is reinventing the goalkeeping position in football.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Ask Szczesny and Podolski if it was that easy under Wenger. Certainly not as cut-throat as it is with Arteta, I agree.
Ancelotti is a lot more magnanimous than Wenger but achieved more than every managers other than Pep.


But what does he think of the goalkeepers?


Whether it was intentional or not, a positive that has been achieved with the timing of the goalkeeper switch is that it was possible for MA to start Havertz on the bench without much fuss, as all the attention was on the goalkeeper. I personally think that Havertz will do well in the long term, but it is good for him to be taken out of the limelight for a few games. If Havertz was dropped to the bench and there wasn’t the goalkeeper situation there would have probably been a lot of attention on the decision, which may have… Read more »


Excellent point. Intentional or not, I think you’re bang on! I also think long-term Havertz will be super valuable and if he learns and plays up to the very high work-rate and quality expectations he’ll be brilliant. However, I agree it might have been a slight error of judgement by Mikel to push so hard and disrupt the side to squeeze Havertz in during a period he should be given time to adapt and come on slow. With Gabriel, Tross and Vieira playing so well, it’s important Mikel rewards that and shows Havertz that he has to earn it. He… Read more »


The one thing that amuses me is the complex mind of a fan. We had a full American international as backup keeper last season and from what the fans were generally saying we would be screwed if something happened to our number one. Nothing against Turner and he’s a very good gk but even season previews on the main blog would show lots of concern “if anything happened” to our number one for a month(s) Now we have two very good goalkeepers and the talk is how can he, why did he, but put simply the truth lies in between.… Read more »


Completely agree, it is team first and players second. Its a cut throat business and they know it, sink or swim. Every single one of our fans loves Saka but if by some crazy miracle of mad science experiments we could get 25 year old Messi in the team, we would all take it him without a 2nd thought. It sucks for the individuals but for the team we need the best we can get.


I don’t disagree with Arteta in theory. I just don’t see enough difference between Ramsdale and Raya technically to make them alternatives to each other. They are not different stylistically and differences in in skill areas are not large enough to me to warrant changes for technical reasons. They’re both very good shot stoppers and very good in distribution. I think the biggest difference is Ramsdale seems a bigger personality and maybe that makes Raya a more calming presence. They are both inarguably top keepers. Does either mesh particularly better or worse with specific defenders to provide a different look… Read more »

Yankee Gooner

I have loved Ramsdale since he came to Arsenal–great attitude, hard worker, likes to wind up the other fans, his dad is a nervous pint-slamming wreck, and he’s easy to support. I was surprised when Raya came aboard and thought it was a bad move (having never really paid much attention to him). But after watching one half yesterday, I get it–Raya can put the ball accurately into play on the other side of the pitch, and Ramsdale can’t (or at least hasn’t consistently). That’s a massive weapon. Now, maybe Raya distributed better yesterday than he ever has in his… Read more »


Both are good stoppers but Raya is more composed with the ball at his feet. Ramsdales “big personality” beloved by fans also can lead to rashness & isn’t likely to be a trait cherished by Arteta.


Elite football is a sport of small margins. Raya’s distribution is better, seems more comfortable on the ball, catches crosses instead of punching, seems to have a lot more time on the ball than ramsdale. If it were up to me I wouldn’t mind ramsdale continuing but Raya improves us objectively – his stats are better than ramsdale.

Teryima Adi

A great manager has a ruthless streak in him- Arteta has the cojones to make those ruthless decisions that could jar most of us. Like Blogs said this morning, Arteta is about to reinvent the goalkeeping role in football. I won’t be surprised to see Raya in goal on Wednesday. This is not about discarding Ramsdale – it’s about rotating your excellent goalkeepers, and I have a hunch this is going to work without unsettling Raya and Ramsdale.


Agreed. I think people miss the point that Arteta and Edu have deliberately targeted players who have strong mentalities to compete at the highest level. Ramsdale is not some brittle fellow who needs to be placated; the guy regularly riles up thousands of opposition fans each week both for the fun of it and to keep himself focused and on edge. No player enjoys sitting on the bench, but every player enjoys being part of a winning team and management have worked tirelessly to create a positive, competitive, supportive network at the club to promote success for everyone, together. I… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

Strong mentalities until it remains ten games in the season and at times freak out when they are up 2-0. Out-of-the-box thinker Arteta should instruct them to not score the second goal. Strong skills, strong togetherness and many top top top talents, I would say.


I suppose Ruthlessness with success is tolerable. If not, you just look like an insecure spiteful person.

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