Arsenal: Odegaard was Arteta’s hero

Arsenal survived a scare against West Ham United on Boxing Day to begin the second half of the season with a victory.

Mikel Arteta’s gameplan didn’t exactly go to plan in the first half as William Saliba brought down Jarrod Bowen in the box to give away a penalty, which Said Benrahma duly converted.

However, whatever the Spaniard said to his men at the interval clearly worked, as two quickfire goals from Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli swung the match in the club’s favour, before Eddie Nketiah secured all three points with the third goal.

Saka was typically excellent, playing four key passes during the encounter while scoring the all-important equaliser and he looks to have rebounded well following England’s World Cup heartbreak.

Arteta’s true hero, however, was Martin Odegaard, as the midfielder was truly instrumental in their comeback win.

Odegaard was the star

At half-time, Arteta needed his captain to step up and spur the rest of the side – on and the Norwegian star certainly delivered.

Odegaard received the highest Sofascore rating on the pitch with a 9.0 as he picked up from where he left off before the World Cup hiatus.

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His attacking performance was a joy to behold, with the player registering two assists, creating two big chances, taking a total of six shots and making five key passes in what was an excellent performance.

The 24-year-old also enjoyed 82 touches during the tie, proving that he was constantly on the lookout to get involved during the match and generate plenty of opportunities for his teammates. He also completed 93% of his passes.

He wasn’t shy in helping out defensively either, making one tackle and winning 60% of his total duels, and Arteta will be confident in his team going forward knowing just how effective his captain can be when the side are in a spot of trouble.

Arsenal have now stretched their lead at the top of the Premier League table to seven points, however, the 40-year-old won’t be getting carried away.

The North London side face Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday next as they aim to keep the momentum going.

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