The Gunners were ahead 5-0 at halftime against Lens on Wednesday night, and it was obvious they were going to win that game; there was no way the French side could pull off a 5-0 comeback in the second half. That said, Arsenal won 6-0.
Mikel Arteta also had the pleasure (in the second half of that game) of resting several of his key players for the meeting with the Wolves, and he did so, resting Oleksandr Zinchenko, Tomiyasu, Declan Rice, and Bukayo Saka. Many people wondered why he didn’t also rest Odegaard. The Norwegian had only returned to the team last weekend after missing three games due to a hip injury. He was substituted off at the end of the game against the Bees, but he played the entire 90 minutes against Lens. One could argue that was dangerous given his recent injury recovery.
So, why did Mikel Arteta take the risk of playing Odegaard for the whole 90 minutes against Lens when he could have rested him? The Spaniard claims he wanted the Norwegian to try to regain his momentum after missing a few games and that the ex-Real Madrid man hinted he was fine with playing the entire match, and that’s why he didn’t take him off. In his own words, the Spaniard said, “We have five subs, and we are very short in certain areas.
“In the end, we had to prioritize who to rest, and as well, he hasn’t accumulated that many minutes in the last six or seven weeks.
“So we asked him how he was, and he said he was fine. He managed himself a bit in the second half, and he was fine.”
Against Lens, Odegaard was on fire; hopefully he has re-discovered his form and will be influential when Arsenal battle Wolves this weekend.
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