Friday, June 21, 2024

Odegaard crowned Arsenal’s Player of the Season for 2023/24

Martin Odegaard has been crowned Arsenal’s Player of the Season for the 2023/24 campaign.

The Norway international secured the award for the second year in a row with 33% of supporters’ votes pipping Declan Rice and William Saliba into second and third respectively.

Odegaard made 48 appearances in all competitions scoring 11 goals and making 11 assists as the Gunners challenged Manchester City for the title and progressed to the Champions League quarter-finals. While the midfielder hit the net more regularly the season before, his impact on Mikel Arteta’s side continues to go from strength to strength.

According to FBREF, Odegaard was responsible for 220 shot-creating actions throughout the campaign – the second-highest tally in Europe’s top 5 leagues – and was eighth for goal-creating actions.

His performances didn’t go unnoticed. He was nominated for FWA Player of the Year, Premier League Player of the Season and PFA Premier League Fans’ Player of the Year.

Speaking in April, Arteta was full of praise for his captain: “He keeps evolving, he keeps growing, he wants more. The impact that he’s got on the team obviously, it’s huge and he wants more, which is good to know.”

Congrats to the skipper. You’ve earned your break, have a great summer.

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John C

Well deserved!

For me it was either him or Rice and I think Saliba is a worthy 3rd too


For me it is Saka. I tried to objectively compare their stats, but they do different things. What’s the statistic tool pros use to overall compare players doing different things?

John C

I’ve said this before but Saka doesn’t make my top 5.

I honestly don’t think his performance were any better than Martinelli’s but I will say that’s because I think our tactics this season did isolate them a bit on the wing.


Saka’s output this season is one of the best in the world. Similar to Martinelli? Ridiculous comparison.

John C

No it wasn’t, he scored 10 open play goals from over 100 shots, Foden scored 19 from the same amount.

People are super defensive of Saka but the reality is his open play output has hardly improved in the last 3 seasons

Dr. Gooner
Dr. Gooner
John C

I don’t know what any of this means, and I stand by what I said. He may look great in some arbitrary stats but remove penalties and his output hasn’t improved in 3 seasons. That’s a fact despite what unimportant stats might tell you. Now I don’t think he’s all to blame, I think our wingers have been stuck out on the wings by the manager so a lot of his shots aren’t even designed to go in. I think a lot of the tactical analysis of our play this season has been well off. He, as well as Martinelli… Read more »


“That’s a fact, despite what stats tell you”. No. Stats are facts. The rest is opinion.

John C

That’s where you’re wrong, expected goals and assists stats aren’t fact but opinions

John C

In fact all the stats provided are opinions and just one persons attempt to evaluate player performance using numbers in the arbitrary way they’ve designed.

I have nothing against using some of these stats but to argue that Saka for instance has had a better season than Foden citing them stretches credibility.

Dr. Gooner

This is the moment where I have to try really hard to remember the old adage about what to do if I don’t have anything nice to say

John C

This is moment when you realise you don’t have a coherent argument to explain why being 3rd in the non penalty expected goals and assists rankings is better than being joint 10th in the actual non penalty goals and assists rankings behind Anthony Gordon and Jared Bowen and level with Leon Bailey.

I’m a Saka fan but honestly the way people go on like he’s a superstar despite not putting up anything like superstar numbers grates.


I’m confused, why does his lack of superstar numbers matter if stats don’t matter? Do stats matter or not?

John C

Expected goals?! How many games are won by an expected goal?


fascinating to see John C here starting off by making an interesting and valid point about Saka’s season, and then in the face of opposition instead of seeking to explain the nuance of his opinion just crumble and devolve into the point where he’s suggesting that “all stats are opinions”. John, if you want to argue successfully against statistical analysis you will be far more persuasive if you acknowledge that stats do have some use in gauging a player’s value, before then explaining the flaws you perceive in what the stats would tell us. You can’t compellingly argue against a… Read more »

John C

You’re wrong, it’s not for me to explain why someone’s arbitrary stats are wrong, it’s for them to explain why they’re right. It’s not for me to explain what Goal Probability Added or Pass Efficiency mean, these are inventions of the author. Not a single match has ever been decided by having a superior Goal Probability Added. The stats that mean something to me are goals and league points, assists can be iffy because often it means final pass. I have problems when an assist is given for a square pass to a team mate who belts it in from… Read more »


I’m not saying the bathwater isn’t dirty, I’m saying you don’t need to throw the baby out with it. Firstly, if you want to dismantle the overreliance on xG and xA, which I think is a commendable thing to do, you can’t do that by calling them “opinions” or “inventions of the author”, because that’s fundamentally not what they are, they’re not numbers someone just pulled out of their arse, they’re an attempt at aggregating a probability of something happening based on available objective data. I fully agree that a lot of nuance gets lost along the way between putting… Read more »

Guns Up

I happen to agree with John C, quite strongly with respect to xg. Deeply flawed and horribly overused statistic. As you say, it has some (limited, in my opinion) value. It allows you to make very basic comparisons between expected and actual output, but again, horribly overused. For example, Odegaard shooting from a given position with his magic wand of a left foot, with Almunia in goal and Mustafi defending, has a VERY different probability of scoring than say Gervinho shooting from the same spot, with Saliba defending and Raya in goal. As far as Saka goes, I think John… Read more »


I appreciate you continuing your anti-Saka crusade here lol. As we’ve discussed before I agree, he’s not in my top 5 but he is probably 6th. To say he’s not been better than Martinelli though… blimey. I absolutely love Gabby Martinelli and think he’ll have a brilliant season next year, but he might not even be in our top 10 this season. I have Raya, Trossard, Havertz and Jorgi ahead of him.

John C

I’m not anti-Saka, I think he’s great, but the fawning over him is ridiculous, there’s no balance. Even reading the blog today elevating him for scoring penalties because he previously missed a couple is silly. Players miss penalties and to then to state that Bergkamp stopped taking them because he missed one so that’s proof of mental strength?!? Come on!! Comparing anyone’s mental strength to a guy’s whose pathology has meant he hasn’t stepped on a aeroplane for the last 40 years because he once experienced some turbulence is hardly an inditement. I love Bergkamp but he was only nicknamed… Read more »


Ok now you’re overstepping it, no Bergkamp slander will be tolerated here! Let’s not judge people for irrational phobias and anxieties because that’s often just the nature of the human mind and might be a result of childhood trauma or whatever, to extrapolate that to Dennis’ overall mental strength is silly and frankly unacceptable. I know you’re not anti Saka I just am amused and impressed with how far you keep pushing this point 🙂 which again I mostly agree with.

John C

I totally agree with you, it’s not sensible to judge people by others phobias, including but not limited to taking penalties.

Haha well if someone presents me with a host of graphs it’s only polite to respond.



Reality check

“Output has hardly improved”
From 18G/A in 38 games to 25 G/A in 35 games sounds like an improvement.

John C

”open play output”

Now remove his 6 penalties


As all these posts have proven, it is a shame that our fans don’t improve along with the team every season.


This is a ridiculous take. Much like what rival fans are doing on SM with Saka right now. He went off the boil towards the end there, but saying his performances weren’t better than Martinelli’s is hyperbole.

Martinelli had a very poor season (even he will tell you that).

John C

Their non-penalty goal output is almost identical.

Saka – 10 goals from 102 shot – 2937minutes – per 90xG 0.36
Martinelli – 6 goals from 58 shots – 2000 minutes – per 90xG 0.31


Saka had a great season and frankly, we would have been absolutely nowhere without his attacking contribution. I also think his defensive work often goes unnoticed, he always puts a shift in, even when he’s clearly not 100% fit.


I think you need to go and re-watch all the games my friend

Reality check

Saka carried Arsenal at the start of the season when all other attackers went cold. No one in the team is as impactful as Saka, not even Ode and Rice.

Johnny 4 Hats

To me it’s so hard because I strongly believe that Saka, Rice, Saliba and Odegaard are all the best in the world in their respective positions.

It’s sort of like the Messi / Ronaldo debate (even thought Messi is obvs better). They were both so good that it’s almost pointless debating which is better or had the better season.

You just can’t separate those four because they are the best on the planet.


“[ debate in which I can’t decide which player is better ] is similar to [ debate in which one player was evidently better ]”

johnny I don’t know if one of your hats is a thinking cap but I’m not sure you thought this one through

Johnny 4 Hats

If you read all the individual city charges, charge no 87 is actually stealing Johnny 4 Hats thinking hat and replacing it with a beer drinking hat, complete with straws.

Hence why…. I luurve you soo much brather. You get me. Like no1 eesle doooes *boilk*


damn it Johnny, now we know where pep gets his ideas from

Johnny 4 Hats

Just while we are on Pep, has anyone noticed how Doku was absolute garbage last season? How £100m Grealish is a shadow of his former self? How Phillips is out on loan? But we spent the first half of the season getting the Kai Havertz fee (same as the Doku fee) thrown in our face from every single angle. People are like “yeah, but to be fair, City are a really well run club”. Are they? Or do we just not notice all the mistakes they make because they have so many backup options. To me they are ‘throw shit… Read more »

A Different George

Doku was pretty good when I saw him, though he really doesn’t seem like a Pep (or Arteta) player. Agent of chaos. But the real point, I think, is that when other teams–even relatively rich teams like Arsenal–make a big mistake when buying a player (Pepe), it has an effect on the team. Grealish on the bench? So what? Canselo’s attitude annoys Pep? Send a guy who was the best defender–maybe the best player–in the Prem a year earlier out on loan and no one even notices. They don’t make these mistakes that often–but they never have to worry about… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

There’s just no pressure or scrutiny either. Pepe wore that price tag on his forehead for years. It was as if he’d had his name changed to ‘£72m Pepe’ by deed poll. And it finally broke him.

It’s just so bizarre how they operate and how they are perceived. It’s like a 12 year put a cheat code into championship manager and overdosed on cherry pop.

Johnny 4 Hats

I mean, Gvardiol cost £90m. Just £15m less than Deccy.

I’m not sure anyone even mentioned it.

A Different George

Exactly–Conselo’s eventual replacement. But there is something new: City is acting, for the first time openly, as you would expect an entity owned by a powerful nation-state to act. Their new legal case, it looks to me, is a threat to actually destroy the Premier League if it tries to enforce *any* rule that City don’t like.


They are a very well-run club, because their finances allow them to be. They can cover for Grealish being shit because they have enough in other areas to get them over the line. There are always going to be certain things in football that you can’t control, and City are well-run because they have killed off enough of those percentages to the point that when a situation like Grealish or Doku emerges, it isn’t enough to make a difference. I really think it’s important not to get carried away into the territory of suggesting everything about them is terrible, and… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

For me personally, being well run is about a lot more than resources. Brighton with amazing talent acquisition and a cut throat sales department. Brentford playing the stats / numbers game. Crystal Palace leaning on their academy to create an exciting team. Nothing city have done has come from anything other than the fact they are stinking rich. The only reason Pep comes is because they are rich. The only reason Haaland and De Bruyne come is because they are rich. The only thing I’ll give them is Phil Foden. In 15 years of financial horse play, one academy prospect… Read more »


Being well-run is about a lot more than resources, yes, because specifically it’s about what you do with the resources. Such as literally all the things you list, like getting in Pep, getting in Haaland and De Bruyne. There are so many examples of clubs that are rich also being run like circuses (PSG, United), and City for all their wealth clearly don’t fall into that category. Grealish was instrumental in the treble, Doku played well in patches. What do you want, every player to play well all the time in order to be considered well-run? That’s not possible in… Read more »


I think the reason why Saka is not among the top three is that he has not been better than his best. Performance-wise, he has definitely been one of our best players, but he is already awarded for this level of his game in 2021 and 22. He should be crowned once he raise the level again.


Great conversation everyone! I don’t know anything about stats,
but I can see;
1) more and more games where defenders double-up on Saka, making space elsewhere (Havertz),
2) the immense benefit of Ben White’s overlaps, esp last season, something Martinelli’s never had,
3) that Arsenal’s team is not symmetrical, nor does it want to be, and it’s constantly evolving during a game and over a season in a way I don’t think stats could represent.


The one true leader of the mighty RED CARTEL!


Captain fantastic deserves it 💯


Definitely deserves it. For me he’s just such an impressive leader on and off the pitch.


Well and truly deserved. He was unplayable after the winter break. A proper captain, too.

He seems to have fully settled in and found that much-needed consistency. Hoping he is hoisting his first trophy as captain for us next season!


Saka is a funny one because my sense was that he had great stats this season but didn’t really kick on in the way that say Foden did. But then I noticed he was in the guardian team of the season and had the highest average performance ratings by who scored (whatever that’s worth)


I think Saka improved defensively this season, his workrate, positioning and execution of ball leveled up. However, the one thing remaining is for his efficiency in front of goal to improve. So that and he’s one of the best few wingers in the world.
I feel Marty deserved the award. He was phenomenal, and IMO he’s the best of ball/defensive attacking player in world football.


Well deserved, and I think Rice would have been a good pick too. But my personal pick would be Saliba, and my reasoning is that he’s maybe the one player in the squad that is the absolute best in his position in the league.

El Mintero

Weird that deschamps doesn’t give him a look-in.


Agree with this. Amazing footballer.

Fyi ESPN rated the 100 best footballers in Europe in categories and Odegaard was 3rd best midfielder behind Rodri and Bellingham.

Imagine if teams didn’t miss sitters against 115 and we won the title!

Death by 300,000 Passes

Saka not in the top 3?
We got so used to him, his magic is daily routine for us now.
It was always going to be hard leaving some if our brilliant footballers out of the top 3, but seeing that to be Bukayo looks so unfair!

Dr. Gooner

Yeah. It’s Saka. -The guy who opens up the scoring with a pass or shot. Almost every time. -The guy who matches Foden, Salah and Haaland for xG output despite playing substantially wider -The guy who matches Foden, Salah and Haaland for xG output despite playing as a right back half the game (those guys have a free role!) -The guy who gets double/triple teamed and rotationally fouled every game because opponent’s know he’s the key -The guy Mikel Arteta built his offense around this season because he also knows Saka is the key -The guy who is also undisputed… Read more »


Much as I do vote for Martin I do love your defence of Saka.
Makes me bristle when other fans try to claim Saka is over-rated. The boy is magic.


This is well deserved. Except for a couple of games , he was very consistent. Some of his skills are so ridiculous that they look like a video game glitch.


Meh… kind of a bum. I don’t even get what does he really do on the pitch that others cant, I mean what is he good at really? The odd flashy dribble? Nice hair? Overrated.


How does the song go again?
“30 million down the drain… Odegaard fluffs a pass again
Who is this talentless kid?
Send him back to Real Madrid!”


Sarcasm btw, in case that wasn’t completely obvious


No question Odegaard deserved it again this year. The blog entry talking up Saka as the deserved winner was just short of nauseating. Saka is good, and very likeable. But he wasn’t anything near our best player this year.

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