Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has explained that January loan signing Martin Odegaard makes the Gunners play better as an overall team thanks to his technical ability, after the Norway international scored his first goal for the club in Thursday night’s 3-1 win over Olympiacos.
Odegaard got the ball rolling in Greece with a long-range stunner, although Arsenal played themselves into trouble again when Olympiacos equalised. But further goals from Gabriel and Mohamed Elneny put them in the driving seat to reach the Europa League quarter finals.
Arteta is delighted with the improvement of Odegaard and the team as a whole.
“He helps us to do the processes much better,” the boss told Arsenal.com.
“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. He scored a brilliant goal and his contribution was really important for the team.”
Odegaard is only on a short-term deal from Real Madrid until the summer, but his performance in Greece has fans clamouring for the transfer to be made permanent.
Arteta spoke openly about Odegaard’s qualities soon after the player arrived in north London January and expressed hope that he might stay longer if he adapted well – which has been the case.
Odegaard himself said to Arsenal.com of his excellent first goal: “I was eager to get on the scoresheet and I didn’t get any goals yet, so it was a good moment for me and also a crucial moment in the game to get a goal away from home and take the lead into half-time.
“It was a big moment for me personally and also for the team.”