Captain Odegaard leads by example by Dan Smith
In the summer I expressed my surprise that Martin Odegaard was named our new captain.
I hadn’t seen that many performances in high pressure situations that really stood out from the player, nor did he come across the most vocal. Amazon’s All or Nothing Series confirmed as much, the loudest voices being Xhaka and Ramsdale in the dressing room.
Being a great skipper though isn’t defined by how much you shout and throw things around, you can simply lead by example.
Against Fulham the Norwegian produced arguably his greatest performance in an Arsenal shirt.
There were a lot of examples this weekend of why realistically we won’t put up a title challenge.
Gabriel made a mistake which (whisper it quietly) he makes too many of while Eddie Nketiah again demonstrated that we would be in trouble if Jesus suffered a serious injury. Now on 100,000 pound a week, the striker can no longer get away with his heavy touches and lack of reactionary skills.
Jesus got too distracted in his verbal feud with Mitrovic while Saka was guilty of overplaying.
Odegaard realised his side was in trouble and constantly demanded the ball. His control in tight areas and ability to move his feet so quickly has always been evident. That’s why he had such a reputation as a teenager. What’s prevented him from ever fulfilling his potential is his decision making in the final third, often scared to shoot from long range.
Yet against Fulham he was getting better the longer the match went on. He got lucky with a deflection that led to his equalizer, but that should encourage him to shoot from long range more often. If you don’t buy a ticket, you can’t win a raffle – and all that.
Moments later he produced a chipped pass to perfection that other forwards would have hit first time. Even when winning 2-1, he charged back and got his body in the way, again setting the standards to his peers.
He was pictured encouraging the Emirates to be louder and at full time was demanding his teammates acknowledge the crowd.
We missed out on the top 4 last season due to weak mentality, the consequence of having the youngest squad in the division.
The only way that will improve is moments like this weekend. Our players can use this experience to help them the next time they find themselves chasing a game, and will have enhanced belief that they can get over the line.
The next challenge is for the 23-year-old to do it consistently but as far as the Fulham game goes; he truly did lead by example.
Be Kind in The Comments
CALLING ALL ARSENAL FANS! Anyone who would like to contribute an Article or Video opinion piece on JustArsenal, please contact us through this link…