Odegaard’s absence against Sheffield highlights Arsenal’s new strength in depth

Mikel Arteta now has a large, high-quality squad on which he can rely. Not long ago, even last season, the Spaniard couldn’t afford to field a capable lineup without the presence of some stars. Now he can, and one of the many reasons is that Arteta recognizes he now has players of enormous talent in his squad. Many would have been concerned last season if a player like Martin Odegaard had missed a league game, but for the first time in almost two years, the Norwegian star did not start an Arsenal Premier League game against Sheffield.

Arteta’s explanation for resting Odegaard against Sheffield couldn’t help but imply he was eager to rotate (though he noticed Odegaard’s condition) and did so because of his strong squad.

“We went through all the minutes that everybody has played the last three weeks and some of them played an enormous amount of minutes,” he said via Football.London.

“Martin has been as well carrying a little thing that wasn’t very comfortable in the games. So we have players with enormous quality and we have to choose and we believe that it was the right day to do so.”

People recognize Man City and even Liverpool’s recruitment, but given Arteta’s superb Arsenal squad, the Gunner’s recruitment is right up there. So far this season, the Gooners have appreciated their squad depth, with Arteta’s ambitions kept alive by his ability to twist and turn his squad.

Takehiro Tomiyasu has come off the bench several times and transformed the game, as have Fabio Vieira and Leandro Trossard.

Jakub Kiwior seamlessly replaced Gabriel in central defense against Sheffield United. Not to mention the goalkeeping duel between Aaron Ramsdale and David Raya.

The Gunners now have a squad to envy. Injuries are attempting to hold them back but our quality in depth has meant we have not been weakened by them.

Daniel O

Watch all the goals from the Sheffield game here – including Nketiah’s hat-trick

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  1. We’ve got plenty of central midfielders, so I wouldn’t be worry too much if Odegaard or Rice is unfit for one or two games

    1. That’s the benefit of a bench.
      I wouldn’t be worried if Elneny is fit again and Rice is unfit considering Pathey is out. If would be fine if Arteta can rest Rice and Odegard and Saka in Carabao cup.

  2. The injury that Odegaard has reportedlybeen carrying could explain his recent“dip in form”- this just goes to show how little we know about what goes on behind the scenes and in the personal lives of these players.Anyway,I’m glad we have depth this season. In the Epl,Arsenal has had 7 goals scored by substitues – I think this is the most in the league and it shows a strength in depth and effective use of the squad(something Mikel didn’t do too well last season,in my opinion).

    1. It has become standard to criticise Arteta for not rotating sufficiently last season. However, IMO that is somewhat unfair.
      The way we started last season was unexpected and it quickly became apparent that our first team squad was a match for almost any other team. However, we also saw that levels dropped off when players were rotated in (e.g. cup games).
      Given the relentless form of MC as the season progressed it was quite understandable that Arteta tried to keep a stable team going for as long as he could.
      It also worth noting that some players: Jorginho, Trossard and Kiwior only joined in January and whilst they are clearly good players there was always going to be some uncertainty about how they would all integrate. When you factor in injuries as well you quickly find that it is not straightforward to rotate when you are up against a juggernaut like MC.
      We have strengthened again in the last transfer window which gives Arteta more options.

  3. In real terms our central midfielders consist of Rice, Partey, Jorjinho and Elneny ,the latter two being below the quality we need to maintain our playing standards.Numerically we are strong in terms of attacking midfielders, with Odegaard, Havertz, Vieira and ESR available bearing in mind that we normally play with only one AM as do Spurs..Yet again the trouble surrounds the doubts concerning Havertz and Vieira and their ability to take over from Odegaard without a drop off in our creativity.Personally, I prefer ESR in the front three particularly as the skilful Zinchenko is a very capable CM .Basically, with a shadow over Partey in view of his poor injury record, next season I think we need two athletical midfielders one of whom is comfortable in the DM role.In Rodri, Stones, and Phillips City have three players who are efficient in that vital position.

  4. It is untrue and unwise to claim , wrongly, that “…….our quality in depth mans we have not been qweakwnw dby injuries” .
    OF COURSE WE HAVE!!!. Timbe r, out for allor most of thrseason is amassive blow Partey almost always unfirt , likewise JESUS, in great form and now out for some weeks at least.
    And the writer naively claims, with not a shred of evidence for his view – unlike my view with evidence here provided- “we are not weakened by them”. Sigh!

  5. Replacing Odegaard on recent form is not difficult, but Havertz, Viera and ESR have to improve considerably to replace an in form Odegaard. That said, Viera and ESR need game time to do so. MA has to find a way to give these players time without sacrificing results.

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