Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Odegaard: We want to do amazing things with this team

Martin Odegaard says Arsenal know what they need to do to beat a Porto side who made life very difficult for them in Portugal and he insists the current squad are excited by the chance to write a new chapter in the club’s history.

While the Gunners have put together an eight-game winning streak since returning from a warm-weather training camp in Dubai in mid-January, the 1-0 defeat at the Estadio do Dragao was a reminder that Mikel Arteta’s side still lack experience of big European nights.

On a frustrating evening, Arsenal failed to muster a single shot on target before Brazilian winger Galeno struck late to hand the hosts an unexpected advantage. Having fallen to Portuguese opponents in last season’s Europa League, Odegaard and his teammates are aware of the challenge that lies ahead.

“Every time you play you want to prove something, especially after what happened there,” he said in Monday’s pre-game press conference. 

“If you compare that game to the other games we’ve played recently, it’s the one that stands out. I think the feeling after the game was that we weren’t good enough ourselves and that’s a good thing, we can change ourselves and that’s what we’re going to try to do tomorrow.

“We’ve looked at the game we played there, we all have the feeling that we have to do different so we have that very clear and we are so ready.”

Brentford’s visit to the Emirates on Saturday proved a useful tune-up for Porto. After a succession of victories secured at a canter, Thomas Frank’s side reminded Arsenal how difficult an organised opponent can make things.

“I think we take a lot of good things from that game,” said Odegaard. “It was a really good practice for this game coming up.

“We had to deal with a lot of different situations, a lot of time wasting and we had to control our emotions the whole game and I think we did that brilliantly. It was a really good practice for another big game and we did really well.”

Martin Odegaard was only 10 years old the last time Arsenal progressed to the quarter-finals of the Champions League while others in the current first team were even younger. Unsurprisingly, despite a poor recent record in the competition, the Norwegian says his side are concerned by the past, only writing a new future.

“You can’t think too much about the past but obviously you want to keep building your own history,” he said.

“We want to do some amazing things with this team and that’s our goal, that’s our focus, to focus on us at the moment. It’s something really nice to play for, to go through in this tournament.

“It’s a big goal and a big dream for all the players playing in football today, to go far in this competition so hat’s a massive motivation for all of us and that’s what we’re playing for.”

He added: “We have to focus on ourselves and we have to focus on what we can do and the history we can do. So that’s our goal.

“We’re Arsenal, we want to win trophies and we want to fight at the biggest stage and play the biggest games. Tomorrow is a great chance to show that.”

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Tom 007

Together we gona smash them man… Put them to the sword in the first half and close the game. COYG ..

Daveo

Yup. I’m fully expecting us to just blaze them to pieces in the opening half hour and score three goals. And then just shut the tie down. Porto are an annoying team, I wasn’t particularly impressed by their quality – we’re so much better. Pretty similar to Brentford level, but I feel like this team is about as primed for this game as they’ll ever be for any game. Smoke them, then prepare for the trip to the cheatiad stadium! Then deliver the performance of their lives and beat those fuckers in Manchester – STATEMENT TIME!

Bleeding gums Murphy

Such a special night coming. The atmosphere will be electric and a win puts in the champions league quarter finals whilst sitting top of the premiership. Breathe that into in, don’t rush it, take it the breath right down into the lungs and let it enter your red and white blood stream. Now exhale the remaining breathe. Acknowledge how good this feels and remind yourself that Tottenham are shit. That’s your daily meditation folks. Enjoy and come you gunners

Johnny 4 Hats

So much talk about Porto using “the dark arts”.

Always a compliment when the subtext to that is that the only way teams think they can beat the Arsenal is by cheating.

It’s smart that we’ve made this an issue and given it some media airtime as the ref will now have that in the back of his mind this evening.

Blech

Porto’s form is very good, they have lost just once in 2024 and last results include large victories (3-0 last friday, 5-0 against Benfica). I think it’s going to be a very tight tie and whoever think will win easily is going to be very surprised.

Man Manny

The first half is critical. If Porto go in for the break with an advantage, it’s going to be tough. A goal or two for us in the first half would be ideal.

John

Porto just smashed Benfica 5-0. They are no mugs. Expect a test as tough as Liverpool at home. And hope for the same outcome.

Bill Hall

I am amazed they had time to score 5 goals what with all the time they spend throwing themselves to the ground and faking fouls/injuries 🤣

Teryima Adi

Blitzkrieg – they don’t know what hit them, first and second half. Total annihilation. Guns out and blazing. COYG!!!

Baron

Totally love this. The most special thing about this team at the moment is the unity and visible family-like camaraderie among the players. U sense the same within the coaching staff as well. I don’t even want to mention how well the fans have become totally invested in this team as well, both those roaring and cheering the lads on at the Emirates and those elsewhere. Everyone is playing their part as we continue our gradual but undeniable climb back to the upper reaches of English and European football, & it is just a joy to watch. U just feel… Read more »

Fezec

This team have not yet arrived.

If we win anything this year it’ll be before they have peaked and a remarkable achievement.

But with the attitude, heart and ability in this team added to a couple of year’s maturity and experience, there’s no reason they can’t launch themselves into the stratosphere.

I love this club.

Starteta

It was a really good practice. > Nice kickabout with the boys.

Doghouse

It is a tricky tie, they were well rehearsed in throwing themselves on the floor at every set piece, and the ref bought it every time, hopefully our set piece guy comes up with a solution as the rough and tumble in the box at PL level doesn’t seem to work in CL, i came to the conclusion when a Porto defender ran in to his keeper leaving them pole axed like for the ref to blow up for them (again) unfortunately they have got something to defend so we really need to be 2 up at half time so… Read more »

Doghouse

They were well rehearsed on our set pieces and we were nieve, the rough and tumble in the box only led to a Porto free kick, every time, hopefully we can be a bit more savvy and not having to rely on set pieces, Jesus gives us that option and hopefully Martinelli is fit, of course scoring early would set the tempo, have know idea if Raya has ever been in a penalty shoot out…

PeteyB

Unsurprisingly, despite a poor recent record in the competition, the Norwegian says his side are *not* concerned by the past, only writing a new future.

Bill Hall

I hope we batter them, horrible bunch of cheating, diving, anti football weasels.

OdalGooner

If I were a betting man, I’d put a bit of money on +10 corners, and a red card.

I’m by no means confident of going through. We’re more than capable of tearing them to shreds and being up 5-0 by half time. But it’s also not impossible that it’ll still be 0-0 going into the final 5 minutes.

Bleeding gums Murphy

Realism. I like it. Always worries me a bit when too many get over confident and think it’s a given.

OdalGooner

I’m sorry to say that I see that *a lot* from english fans. Not just of Arsenal. It’s the same for international games with english fans. “We’ll win simply by showing up”. Someone could probably do a whole study on colonialism based on this 🙂 … I’m tired of seeing these European games “dismissed” as something we’ll just win. Even when we were at our best under Wenger (and we were magnificent then) we haven’t really done well in Europe, save for a few heartbreaks (I’ll never forget that Barca game!) – even now I see people going “Well, Porto… Read more »

Blech

Spot on. I have looked at their results from the past 2 years and they haven’t lost a game by more than 2 goals, and most importantly they have the best defence in their league (only 17 goals in 25 games). Last time they lost 5-0 was 6 years ago.

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