Emmanuel Petit has revealed he is worried at Arsenal “players burning out” as he feels captain Martin Odegaard is “not the same player he was last season” because of that.
The Gunners find themselves in a fantastic spot. They’ve built upon the learnings they received last season, in which they missed out on the Premier League title by five points.
Currently, they’re four points clear of Manchester City at the top of the table, though the serial title winners can cut that to one point before Arsenal next play.
Star players such as Odegaard and Bukayo Saka have been some of the biggest factors in the club’s top form. Captain Odegaard missed just a single league game last season – and played 90 minutes on 20 occasions – while being directly involved in 23 goals.
Saka played every single league game, playing 90 minutes on 26 occasions – he scored 14 goals and had 11 assists. The pair have both spent time on the sidelines this season, having played every single minute in the majority of matches in the league beforehand.
Arsenal legend Petit is wary that Arsenal’s players could be run down if Arteta continues using them as he is.
“My main worry is players burning out by not getting enough rest because that has cost Arsenal over the last couple of seasons; they’ve lost some really important players to injury,” Petit told Lord Ping.
Indeed, he used Odegaard and Saka as examples, stating neither player is at the level they were last season due to their fatigue.
“I think the same thing has happened a little bit this season. Odegaard is not the same player as he was last season at the moment,” Petit added.
“He looks a bit sloppy in everything that he is doing, and he looks tired mentally and physically.
“It’s not easy to play every three days and to also play for your country. I’m very worried about Saka [too].
“He plays in nearly every single game – I can’t remember the last time he missed a game for Arsenal – and you can see that he isn’t playing at the same level as he did last season.”
Petit’s solution is more recruitment, as he feels with better depth, the Gunners won’t have to be as reliant on their star men.
“Some important players look tired, they need to add more quality so they can rotate some of the key players,” he added.