Keown praises ‘first-class’ Arsenal star who proved him wrong

Toby Bowles
Odegaard Keown

Martin Keown has admitted that Martin Odegaard has proved him wrong at Arsenal after another standout performance against Leeds United on Saturday.

The Gunners cruised to a 4-1 victory thanks to goals from Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, who volleyed home Arsenal’s fourth after a delicious through-ball from Odegaard.

The Norwegian made his sixth successive start and now has four goal contributions in his last five games after a difficult start to the season. He is beginning to justify the £30m Arsenal spent on him in the summer, according to Keown.

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“I will say that when he first came to the club, I was not his biggest fan, but I have to change that opinion now because he really is developing,” the former centre-half said on Match of the Day.

“You see that clever movement that he has to receive the ball, he was first-class in that Arsenal midfield.

“He’s growing in stature. His confidence is really high, the manager has backed him. For me he’s just getting better and better.”

The win puts Arsenal on 32 points, consolidating their Champions League spot. Neither West Ham nor Manchester United were able to fulfil their fixtures this weekend due to Covid outbreaks, meaning Arsenal have at least one game in hand on their closest rivals.

“It puts pressure on them,” Mikel Arteta said. “We were really lucky to play today with everything that’s happening.

“I told the players to enjoy the game and give everything because I don’t know how this will develop.”



On the performance, he added: “It was a really tough week but really positive with performances and results. We must be happy today.

“They had to play the most physical team in the league and they had to be ready. We had a nightmare to come to the hotel.

“They [the young players] are learning and they’re making a difference in the game. The senior players are playing a big role too.

“That’s what he [Martinelli] can do. He’s getting a level of maturity. He’s so willing to learn. His passion in life is football. You can see that on the pitch.”