Martin Odegaard is a crucial player for Arsenal. He was important to Arsenal regaining their competitive edge and fighting for the league title last season. In fact he was the Premier League midfielder with the most goals (15).
He has started every Premier League and Champions League game this season and has only been subbed off three times.
We overdepend on him; that’s clear.
Anyway, during this time, he has scored four goals and provided one assist. Those are impressive numbers, but his performances have been below standard this season, with the exception of a 4-0 Champions League triumph over PSV and also the 4-0 win over Bournemouth.
Some criticized his performance against Chelsea. I read somewhere after the London Derby that his performance was regarded as “a bad day at the office,” with him struggling to get on the ball. And when he did have the ball, there was a definite lack of quality.
It’s been suggested that he be rested when Arsenal next play (versus Sevilla). I believe a breather would be useful, and here’s why:
1. To make him face reality
Martin Odegaard’s recent poor performance provides cause for concern. He hasn’t been as sharp as we remember him to be in terms of passing and finding teammates; thus, being dropped may be the perfect move by Arteta to remind him to work hard to get back to his previous standards. The Gunners benefit from Odegaard’s connecting play and through balls, but Arteta should give him a rest. Who knows, maybe watching from the bench will inspire the Norwegian.
2. Try him in a different role.
What if he started on the left side of midfield? Why? This season, the Saka-Odegaard combination has been ineffective, owing to Odegaard’s inclination to stick inside rather than offer an overlap. The right side works well due to Saka’s unique ability and Ben White’s overlapping runs, more than because of Odegaard. Odegaard should be moved to the left side of midfield for a bit and experimented with there. It might also provide Arteta with the opportunity to try out Havertz on the right side of midfield.
3. To offer other players an opportunity
Arsenal has a number of players that don’t get enough playing time but can play the Odegaard role, most notably Emile Smith Rowe. The Hale End graduate missed the majority of last season due to injury and hasn’t put together a string of games since then.
Smith Rowe stepped in to save Arteta when he was in trouble, and many Gooners wanted him fired. He was a delight to watch, so fluid and efficient at converting opportunities. On paper, his pairing with Saka appears to be great, and supporters would love to see it return to the Premier League.
Fabio Vieira is another player worthy of consideration for the position. The Portugal international is a rare type of footballer with a lethal touch, whether it’s for crosses or shots. A player like that on the team is a threat to other teams.
Do you agree that Odegaard needs a rest?