Arsenal took a step closer to their long-awaited return to the Champions League as goals from Rob Holding and Gabriel earned them a 2-1 win over West Ham at the London Stadium
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That’s the opinion of Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp, who has described the decision to give the Norwegian the armband as a “masterstroke”. arsenal moved back into the First League in the top 4 on Sunday as goals from Rob Holding and Gabriel helped them win 2-1 away west ham.
Victory was the perfect answer to that Tottenham beating leicester City 3-1 in the early kick-off, a result that temporarily put Spurs above their north London opponents in the race to win Champions League Soccer. Arteta’s side weren’t at their best against the Hammers but showed their streetwise credentials to pick up what could be the crucial three points.
And Odegaard was once again at the center of everything Arsenal did well, helping to dictate the pace from the heart of midfield. The 23-year-old has been an integral part of Arteta’s squad since his final signing real Madrid last summer.
But it’s not just his outstanding technical ability that has earned him praise, but also his leadership qualities that help him stand out in a dressing room with no experience. Arsenal face a long-term end-of-season decision without a permanent captain following the sale of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the January window.
But Odegaard appears to be the leader in the clubhouse, having appeared on the field as Arteta’s lieutenant in recent months and taking the armband since Alexandre Lacazette left through injury.
The Gunners’ search for a captain has been a long one, with the likes of Thomas Vermaelen, Laurent Koscielny and Granit Xhaka falling short of the buck. Xhaka was made captain by Arteta’s predecessor after asking the rest of the squad to vote for a leader.
But Redknapp believes the identification of Odegaard as the new leader could be a defining moment in his tenure at the Emirates dugout. By bringing him into the team they may have stumbled upon a problem that Arsenal has been causing for a couple of years… captaincy,” he explained.
“Xhaka was captain for a while, didn’t really work, [then] Aubameyang, then give it to Lacazette. It was almost like nobody wanted to be. But giving it to Odegaard feels right to me.
“He may not be the most vocal but when you see him play he organizes people, he plays the right pass. He’s a nice player to watch.
“You can see from Mikel Arteta’s point of view he’s almost his manager on the pitch. It could be one where he’s going for the future, he’s a fantastic player, good guy too. It’s a masterpiece from Arteta.”
Former Arsenal striker Alan Smith agreed with Redknapp, adding: “He takes responsibility and that’s quite rare for someone that young. I know a lot of Arsenal fans have asked if they want him back but there aren’t many like him and he just keeps getting better. It’s the youngest team and they will grow together and he will be the center of everything.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/arsenal-mikel-arteta-masterstroke-emery-26846246 Mikel Arteta has been hailed as a 'masterpiece' after taking on Unai Emery's Arsenal trial