Martin Odegaard has looked class since he joined Arsenal, but in recent weeks he has taken his performances to a new level and started to become the orchestrator for Mikel Arteta.
The 22-year-old shone in two London derbies to help Arsenal to a big win against Tottenham and then lead the Gunners to a 3-goal comeback, playing a vital role in all three goals.
On the latest episode of The Fresh Arsenal Podcast, there was plenty of praise for Odegaard.
— Fresh Arsenal Podcast (@fresharsenalpod) March 23, 2021
Martin took the responsibility to drag Arsenal back into the game against West Ham. With 95 touches, only Thomas Partey was more involved. He was extremely accurate with his passing too, with 93.4% of his passes meeting the desired target. Of his 76 passes, 4 were key passes, an impressive total. He also showed his passing range with 2 out of 3 long balls reaching their target. This level of passing was replicated in the North London Derby.
Odegaard isn’t a player to just play safe and retain the ball in order to bump up his stats. This is highlighted in his attacking third passes total. He managed 37/41 against West Ham, Thomas Partey was the next highest on the pitch with 27/30. After that it was Xhaka (20/24), Saka (18/19) and Lacazette (17/24).
Odegaard’s ability to beat a man was also sensational against West Ham. He completed all 4 of his attempted take ons, the most on the pitch. Lacazette (2) was the only other player to manage more than one on the day.
There was also an interesting pattern of play. When Odegaard received the ball, usually from Thomas Partey, the direction Martin decided to go was different to Arsenal’s standard pattern. He opted to pass to Chambers a massive 17 times. He only passed to Tierney on the opposite flank 3 times, for comparison.
This was a different approach to standard for Arsenal and it seemed as if West Ham setup to defend Tierney’s flank but therefore left plenty of space for Chambers to get forward and cause problems. Odegaard’s vision to spot those patterns as the game is developing and to adapt his style of play helped Arsenal come back and grab a point. Two of his passes to Chambers on the right led to the first two goals and his pass to Pepe on that same side, created the opportunity for the equaliser to be setup and scored.