Odegaard the key to unlocking the low block

Frank Lampard became the greatest goal scoring midfielder the game has seen by finding space in and around the edge of the box, and getting his shots on target.

He was a great weapon for Chelsea during their dominate years of the mid-late 00s. Always able to come up with key goals when opponents were defending deep.

In the last two games – against Chelsea and Newcastle – Martin Odegaard has scored 3 times. And all the goals were very similar.

Faced with a defence deep in the box, and a midfield on the edge of the box, Odegaard loitered a bit a deeper awaiting for the cut back. And then when the ball came to him, he did not try and smash it into the top corner. Instead he picked his spot and focused on getting the shot on target.

As the season has gone on, we have seen teams sit deeper and deeper against us, suffocating the space of Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Jesus.

By dropping deeper into space, Odegaard has become the key that unlocks the deep block. Sides defending so deep that he has time on the ball to take a touch, pick out his spot, and get the goal.

Odegaard now has 15 league goals this season, the most by an Arsenal midfielder since Cesc Fabregas in 2009/10. His tally is even more incredible when you consider he does not take penalties (3 of Cesc’s 15 goals came from the spot).

It is unbelievable that some Arsenal fans do not recognise Odegaard for the talent he is. They spend more energy on his poor games rather than his great games.

Every player has a bad game. Whether you are Odegaard or Kevin de Bruyne, Fabregas or Mesut Ozil. It happens.

I imagine the majority of those who go out of their way to criticise Odegaard do so because they are still in love with Ozil. They blame Mikel Arteta for the German’s downfall. And as Odegaard was Arteta’s chosen one to replace Ozil, they unreasonably hate on him too.

These fans need to begin living in the moment. Ozil is retired at just 34 following 3 seasons of failure at 2 Turkish clubs.

At his peak, Ozil was one of the best creators in the game. 19 assists in the 2015/16 season. But that was 7 years ago, and his decline began after that season.

In 2015/16, Ozil also scored 6 goals, giving him 25 goals and assists in the Premier League. Odegaard is now on 22.

And at still only 24, I fully expect Odegaard to continue getting better. This season will not be his peak. As long as he continues to work hard and apply himself, he will be at the top of the game for the next 7 or 8 years.

With Martinelli, Saka, Jesus and Odegaard, we have goal scoring threats across the front 4. And that is why we have been so dangerous this season.

Now all we need is Fabio Vieira to bulk up and step up, so that when Odegaard is having a poor game, or needs a break, we have someone who can step up.

Because ultimately that is the difference between us and Manchester City. Pep can leave de Bruyne on the bench and replace him with Bernardo Silva, Jack Grealish or Phil Foden.

Odegaard is a superstaer. We now just need to show the ambition his talent deserves. Because if we do not I can see City going for him in 12 months as a long term de Bruyne replacement.



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