Arteta waxes lyrical over ‘influential’ Arsenal leader

News Desk
Mikel Arteta F365

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta saluted his “influential” playmaker Martin Odegaard after Norwegian’s starring role in their remarkable comeback at West Ham.

Odegaard, signed in January on loan from Real Madrid, was instrumental as the Gunners came from 3-0 down to snatch a dramatic point against David Moyes’ side on Sunday.

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In the second half the 22-year-old had a hand in both Craig Dawson’s own goal and Alexandre Lacazette’s equaliser.

It was a display which will have had Arsenal fans praying they can sign Odegaard permanently at the end of the season – a move Real Madrid are unfortunately not said to be considering.

“I think he had an incredible performance,” said Arteta. “I think he was very intelligent the way he read the game, the way he affected the game and again he showed how much he wanted to win.

“When everyone was a little trembling he gave us that stability and that composure on the ball and he created chance after chance.

“He’s been showing that, I think, from week one. The way he steps on the pitch, he always wants the ball, the way he commands the pressing. He’s been really influential.

“I think we’ve all been a bit surprised because he looks really shy and humble, but when he steps on that pitch he’s a real character and he loves to play football.”

The Hammers, looking for a win to move level with Chelsea in fourth, raced into a three-goal lead through Jesse Lingard, Jarrod Bowen and Tomas Soucek.

But when Lacazette’s shot deflected in off Soucek before half-time, it gave Arsenal a foothold in the game, and they took advantage.

Dawson’s second own goal in a week made it 3-2 and Lacazette buried an 82nd-minute header to rescue a draw.

“You can’t do that for 45 minutes in a game and expect to get away with it,” Bowen told West Ham’s website.

“We got punished for the way we came out in the second half

“We wanted to start on the front foot again, but we didn’t and got punished for it.”