Mikel Arteta praises ‘exceptional’ Arsenal player who ‘deserves a lot of credit’

Mikel Arteta praises ‘exceptional’ Arsenal player who ‘deserves a lot of credit’

Mikel Arteta was full of praise for the “exceptional” Martin Odegaard following his superb display against Chelsea on Tuesday night.

The midfielder ran the show in the 3-1 Arsenal victory at the Emirates, scoring a quickfire brace to help his side clinch all three points in the Premier League clash.

The Norway international bagged two very similar goals against the Blues, receiving a cutback from Granit Xhaka to fire the ball home expertly on both occasions.

Arteta praises ‘exceptional’ Odegaard

The victory helped the Gunners return to the top of the Premier League table, having lost first place to rivals Manchester City after their 2-1 win at Fulham on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola’s men are now two points behind Arteta’s side, although they do have two games in hand over the Gunners.

But the victory over Chelsea orchestrated by Arteta showed the Gunners are more than up for the fight, with Odegaard leading that charge on the pitch.

When asked if criticism of the young captain after the loss to Man City last month was fair, Arteta preferred to explain just how important the player is for the club.

“I don’t know because I don’t read those comments,” said Arteta, as quoted by the Arsenal website. “What I can say is that he’s been exceptional for us.

“You look at his contribution, every single day in the team and then what he does out there for us every single time, it’s exceptional. The perfect player that plays perfect football every time doesn’t exist. But what Martin has done this season deserves a lot of credit.”

Odegaard shining in midfield

There was huge pressure on Odegaard’s shoulders upon his arrival at the Emirates, having initially joined on loan from Spanish giants Real Madrid.

He hadn’t quite lived up to expectations in Spain, where Madrid had also sent the youngster out on loans to Heerenveen, Vitesse and Real Sociedad. But he has proven to be a top-class player in London, pulling the strings in a young and talented team led by Arteta.

Following his brace against the Blues, Odegaard now has 14 Premier League goals to his name this season, as well as chipping in with eight assists.

Discussing the midfielder’s goals and assists, Arteta said: “That’s what we had to get out of him, he’s got the talent.

“But he needed to occupy different spaces and become a threat. And have the mentality to win matches, not just to control games. I think that’s changed. 

“And when you have someone who is as humble as him and has every single day to push and learn and train, these things happen and I think he is rewarded for his work.”


Huge period for Arteta

Having led the standings for most of the season, Arteta will definitely be disappointed to see Man City close the gap at the top.

Last month’s 4-1 defeat to Guardiola’s men was very damaging, but the Gunners definitely still have a chance to go on and lift the trophy.

It will, however, be a very difficult task, with a trip to Newcastle up next for Arteta and his men. This is followed by a very tough test at home to Brighton.

The Gunners then finish their Premier League campaign with matches against Nottingham Forest and Wolves, away and at home respectively.

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