Odegaard’s place in Arsenal XI questioned after ‘bang average’ display versus Man City

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald Updated: 19 May 2021 14:09 CEST 2 min read
Odegaard’s place in Arsenal XI questioned after ‘bang average’ display versus Man City

Sky Sports pundit Alex Scott has questioned why Martin Odegaard was named in Arsenal’s starting XI for the match against Manchester City on Sunday ahead of Emile Smith Rowe.

Odegaard only arrived at the Emirates in the January transfer window after falling out of favour with Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid.

After starting the first two games of the season under the Frenchman, Odegaard would only start one subsequent La Liga match before making the switch to Arsenal.

Prior to his arrival, Smith Rowe burst on to the scene and began an integral part of the mini resurgence up the table following a disastrous first six months of the season.

The young Englishman was named on the bench for the Man City fixture, though, and Scott reckons this was the wrong decision by Mikel Arteta.

“Today you look at Odegaard, for me he was bang average,” she told Sky Sports.

“And so you question the decision actually with Smith Rowe not being selected ahead of him. I think we’re going to see his [Odegaard’s] real qualities over the next couple of weeks.

“Is he good enough to be in this starting XI of Arsenal? Or actually is this loan period going to be a short one?

How did Odegaard play against Man City?

Though Arsenal would only lose 1-0 at the Emirates following an early goal from Raheem Sterling, the scoreline doesn’t paint the whole picture of their dominance, as they kept the Gunners at bay with relative comfort.

Odegaard started in the number 10 position, but was unable to make an impact on proceedings before being withdrawn in the 73rd minute.

As well as not contributing with a goal or an assist, he only recorded one completed cross the entire game, while just nine of his 27 completed passes were sent into advanced areas in the final third.

The young Norwegian was on the periphery of the action for the majority of his time on the pitch and was only involved in six ground duels, four of which he lost.

Perhaps the most worrying statistic is that he lost possession on 10 occasions despite not seeing a lot of it in his 73 minutes.