Saturday, February 24, 2024

Odegaard on sending a message, Jesus mounts defence of scoring record

Martin Odegaard says Arsenal’s 6-0 win over Lens was a demonstration of their attacking flare having struggled for fluidity in the final third in recent weeks.

Coming into the match, there was much talk about why the Gunners were struggling to match last season’s free-flowing football with manager Mikel Arteta pointing to a lack of early goals and the defensive low-block tactics of opponents.

Last night at the Emirates, Lens were anything but disciplined in their defending and after an early opener by Kai Havertz, the floodgates opened. For the first time since 2003, the Gunners scored five in the first half, and each by different scorers, before Jorginho added a penalty in the closing stages.

“That’s what we wanted to do,” said Odegaard of the performance.

“I think the last few games we’ve been really good defensively and today we wanted to show even more on the ball and to get some more goals as well.

“So we did that and we knew what we were playing for today and I think you saw the motivation and the hunger out there so that was good.”

Asked if the result sends a message to other teams around Europe, he added: “Every time we play we want to send a message of course.

“We want to win every time we play and we want to put on performances like this. It was a good night.”

“European football is a bit different, maybe a bit more transition, a bit more open. But yeah, we want to take that into the league.

“We want to keep playing well, keep scoring goals and offensive good football. We have to defend well and then play good when we have the ball. So that’s what we want to do.”

Arsenal’s win secured top spot in Group B and means Arteta’s side will be seeded heading into the knockout stages. It’s fair to say, nobody will want to draw us when the Last-16 draw is made on 18 December.

“We don’t know,” Jesus replied when asked how far this group can go in the competition.

“We just have to face every game like a final. I know sometimes it’s difficult. Sometimes we play amazing, like we did tonight, and then don’t get five or six goals. That’s football.

“One time it’s like this. You guys know probably more than me, that football is a strange game. Sometimes we play amazing but we don’t win the game or we draw.”

After scoring his fourth goal in four games in the competition, Jesus also launched a defence of his scoring record making clear that recent comments he made after Brazil’s defeat to Argentina were taken out of context. The striker had appeared to say goal scoring wasn’t his strong point; words that didn’t go down too well with the press in his home country.

“It’s hard to explain [why I score more regularly in the Champions League compared to the Premier League]. I said something after the game against Argentina and then people don’t understand sometimes. What I said people took out of context and then said, ‘Oh, Gabi, he says scoring is not his strong point’.

“I said this, but in another way. I have other qualities as well, but I can score guys. I know I’m missing to score in every game, it’s not easy, like at Brentford we played against five at the back, not a lot of chances, I had one with my head but it wasn’t easy.

“People don’t see that, they just check the score, see who scored and don’t see the game. I understand my game, I want to score every game, if possible a hat-trick, but that’s not the reality.

“Champions League this year, I’m scoring every game, Premier League, I’ve missed sometimes but like I said, I’m getting better every day to improve on that. If you say my name, people will think not just of goals but other things, I’m happy with this, but I want to score.”

He also made clear that he’s unconcerned by reports that Arsenal might be in the market for a new striker.

“This happens, I don’t know, maybe it can be like an agent [speaking] it’s business, you know, talking a lot of things. I’m not the most experienced guy, but I think I saw a lot of things in football.

“Sometimes it’s like this, it happened when I was at City with Aguero and me scoring. Aguero was obviously the first choice and me after. And then I was scoring a lot and people were linking me with everyone. So I don’t care about this.

“I know what my qualities are and I know what I can bring to the team. And then, like I said, I can score. I think I can score, no guys? And I can also help with other things, like opening spaces.

“The only people who can see that are those who watch the games. And let’s be honest, I don’t miss a lot of chances. It’s not about ‘he doesn’t know how to score’, sometimes I have to be in the box more and that’s one thing I’m working on.”

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Johnny 4 Hats

It’s really funny that everyone is saying “Arsenal don’t look that good going forward this season”.

And then the only two teams (PSV and Lens) that don’t play a low block against us get slapped into oblivion.

We are still that explosive team we were last season. And everyone is so scared that they have to play 10 men behind the ball.

Daveo

The naivety of football punditry is limitless. We’re now a targeted team in the EPL as we’re one of the big boys again and teams know with our defense and how deadly we are on the break that coming out to play against us is a recipe for disaster. Thus, we’re going to face disciplined defenses and low blocks a lot. That’s hard work breaking down. I actually think we’re doing well and you can see Arteta working slight tactical modifications (Rice being one – we’re so much harder to counter attack against with rice; Raya being another – inviting… Read more »

Nate

Lens and PSV are not even mid-table PL quality. We wreck bad teams in the PL, too, like Sheffield United and Bournemouth.

Dr. Gooner

This is exactly what Arteta and the players have been saying as well. We didn’t stop being a good team after the World Cup. Other teams started approaching us with caution and deference. I’ll quibble with one thing you said. Unlike PSV, who genuinely did try to play against us, Lens did very much play a low block when we got into their half. They are a lot like Brentford, or Everton. They either press you super high in your own half, or drop as deep as they can to defend their box. What they didn’t do last night was… Read more »

A Different George

Unless I am mistaken, this was the first match in any competition where the five attackers who, at the beginning of the season were expected to be our first choice, all started (like last season, but Havertz for Xhaka). They did okay. No, they won’t all score against a low block in the Prem, but they will force teams like Wolves to concede a hundred corners and other set pieces (a feature of our recent matches that was completely absent last night) and we will score one or two. It would also be nice to see a yellow card for… Read more »

Doghouse

Lets hope he has a run of games without injury, a quality player who makes us so much stronger when he plays, goals will come, his link up play is getting better, more protection from refs could be a lot better but like Saka/Martinelli opposition target these players, if we can keep these players on the pitch we definitely have more than a chance of success this season

Dr. Gooner

Chance creation from open play has been an issue going back to the second half of last season, when teams started sitting deep against us because it worked. We have scored a good number of goals, but a lot of them have been penalties or come from set pieces. That’s fine, but we do need to start generating more from open play because a 1 goal margin is too precarious to depend on. There are a lot of factors that go into this. The first and most important component is that Arsenal’s own approach is risk averse. Our primary objectives… Read more »

Santi’s Phonebox

Nice analysis! You identified the factors affecting the difference in our performance year to year. Arteta has always been focused on a defensive approach to the game but it’s a defensive approach where you seek to defend in the oppositions box and if done successfully, you nullify the oppositions ability to score and look for marginal opportunities for yourself. Man City excel at this because of worldies at each position when fit. As you stated, Lens sat back when out of possession but we opened them up because of the early Havertz goal, the extra effort Saka assist for Jesus… Read more »

Ebo

Love Jesus’ mentality so much. I’ve never thought for one second that he’s happy with the fact that he isn’t your classical ‘goalscoring striker’, it’s obvious he would love to score more goals and that he’s the sort of person that would be constantly working on that in training, but also cares just as much about every other way he can help the team win, and that makes him the definition of a player who helps others get better. Would he score more goals if he stayed in the box more, and maybe conserved his energy a bit more instead… Read more »

goonshow

Troodat – the fella gives sooo much to the team! Top work-rate, top nuisance-value to opposition across the park, top tracking back to load our defence when needed.
Bloke is a diamond… end of.

Death by 300,000 Passes

Why Gabi had to explain and defend himself so much? Seems some comments have really bugged him..
Don’t listen to them, Gabi, just stay healthy and play your game. The Gooners love you!

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