Mikel Arteta says Martin Odegaard helps to knit the whole team together with intelligent movement, after the loanee’s goal on Thursday.

Martin Odegaard celebrating scoring for Arsenal against Olympiacos (Photo via Arsenal on Twitter)
Martin Odegaard celebrating scoring for Arsenal against Olympiacos (Photo via Arsenal on Twitter)

Martin Odegaard opened his Arsenal account with a powerful effort from distance to give Mikel Arteta’s side the lead in their Europa League Round-of-16 first leg.

The goal will hopefully boost his confidence taking shots on, given he let a few good opportunities pass him by in the first month or so of his loan. But Arteta said afterwards that Odegaard’s contribution is in more than just goalscoring.

“He helps us to do the processes much better,” Arteta said. “He helps us as a team because he gives us a lot of continuity on the ball.

“He’s really intelligent to find the spaces, he attracts a lot of opponents. We ask him to score goals, to arrive in the box. Today, he scored a brilliant goal and his contribution was really important for the team.”

Odegaard created four chances against Olympiacos, two more than any of his teammates managed. He completed 90% of his passes and both of his dribbles, won six of his seven individual duels, and even made a couple of tackles and interceptions.

The one negative was his wayward pass creating a chance for Olympiacos. He’s had a couple of those in the last few games and they will be punished against better opposition. But his net contribution on Thursday was positive, and long may that continue.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.