Football Features

‘Starting to make the Ozil role his own’ – Odegaard shines as Arsenal demolish Norwich 0-5

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 17:51, 26 December 2021

Martin Odegaard put on yet another first-class display as Arsenal routed Norwich 0-5 at Carrow Road.

The Gunners have now won five games in a row across all competitions with four of those wins coming in the Premier League where Martin Odegaard has emerged as a very strong player of the month candidate.

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Odegaard spent half of last season on loan at the Emirates but never really grabbed hold of the team as many expected him to. Now he’s back, though and finally starting to make good on the immense potential he has shown for over half a decade.

This season Odegaard has scored four goals and made three assists. Those are decent numbers but when you put things into perspective the kind of ridiculous form the Norwegian is in becomes clear.

Coming into December, Odegaard had one goal and 0 assists in the Premier League. That means that in six Premier League games, the 23-year-old has been directly involved in seven goals and indirectly has helped dictate the tempo and set the table for so much more besides.

His reverse pass to Nicolas Pépé in the lead-up to Emile Smith Rowe’s goal today, for instance, won’t show up on any stat-sheet but was an absolute work of art. A miracle moment to be savoured.

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Before the game against Norwich, former Arsenal midfielder Perry Groves spoke about Odegaard proving him wrong. “I was actually worried about Odegaard at first because you could tell he’s an unbelievably talented boy at first, but he wasn’t dominating games,” Groves told talkSPORT.

“We used to watch [Mesut] Ozil and [so] he used to frustrate at times,” Groves continued, comparing Odegaard to Arsenal’s former left-footed no. 10 playmaker; “we wanted [Odegaard] to go and take the game by the scruff of the neck and be dominant in that No.10 position.”

Finally, though, Groves said that Odegaard is starting to look like a no. 10 who Arsenal could build around. “Odegaard is just starting to make that role his own. He’s grabbing goals and assists and with Lacazette it’s giving him that physical presence and a base to play from and he’s got pace from [Bukayo] Saka and [Gabriel] Martinelli on both sides with him.”

Looking at the way Odegaard has Arsenal humming in the month of December, it’s really hard to argue that he isn’t finally fulfilling the immense potential he’s been showing for years now. He’s playing so well that even the much-beloved Emile Smith Rowe has been forced into competition with Gabriel Martinelli to start wide on the left as Odegaard in the no. 10 seems non-negotiable. This has been a true Christmas comeback from the Norwegian and if he can keep it up into the new year we may all have to start taking Arsenal seriously again.