November 29, 2023

Martin Odegaard is orchestrating the new Arsenal midfield.

Martin Odegaard is orchestrating the new Arsenal midfield.

Martin Odegaard is orchestrating the new Arsenal midfield.

Mikel Arteta may shortly experience some selection anxiety.

It is a cliche to state that this is a pleasant problem to have. This time, however, it may present a challenge for the Arsenal manager.

The club captain, Martin Odegaard, may shortly lose his uncontested starting position. Declan Rice and Kai Havertz joined the Gunners this summer for a combined £170 million, bolstering their midfield options at the Emirates.

Granit Xhaka, who returned to Germany with Bayer Leverkusen, has been replaced by Havertz on the left side of the three, with Rice serving as the midfield’s anchor. The former Chelsea player has been a divisive signing for his new club, just as he was at Stamford Bridge, and he has yet to score for them. However, he has been quite orderly in possession, and Arteta clearly values the Germany international.

Havertz won all of his tackles, all of his aerial duels, found a teammate with 91% of his passes, and concluded the game with two crucial passes.

On matchday two against Crystal Palace for the Gunners, the 37-cap international once again contributed in midfield. He won four of his six aerial duels, made an interception, won all of his challenges, and was not dispossessed on the evening while completing 89% of his passes and playing one key pass.

Few would have anticipated these types of offensive performances from a £65 million signing, but Arteta cares only about his contribution to the team.

The Gunners appear content with Eddie Nketiah, Leandro Trossard, and Gabriel Jesus as their No. 9 options for the time being. He may ultimately be moved into a more central forward role.

Therefore, Havertz and Rice are assured spots in two-thirds of the midfield three. Odegaard presently occupies the penultimate position. Last year, the 24-year-old was one of the best players in the Premier League, netting 15 goals and dishing out seven assists while playing a pivotal role in Arsenal’s title challenge.

The captain has already scored his first goal of the season against Crystal Palace. He is one of only six Arsenal players with a WhoScored average rating of over 7.0. He has also performed well in the first three matches.

As a result of Fabio Vieira’s performance against Fulham, his starting position could shortly be in jeopardy, however.

The summer signing of 2022 was handed just over thirty minutes of playing time on Saturday after replacing Havertz. Despite playing for only 34 minutes, the No. 21 attempted three times as many dribbles as the next three players combined, and he completed all of his passes. In addition, the 23-year-old completed more critical passes than Odegaard.

Vieira won the penalty kick, which Bukayo Saka converted to equalize the score for Arsenal. He then assisted Nketiah in giving the lead to Arteta’s men. Overall, it was an impressive cameo. Saka (7.5) was the only red player with a higher WhoScored rating than the £35 million acquisition (7.5).

Subsequently, Arteta assumed culpability for the creative midfielder’s lack of playing time. His first game action of the season came against Fulham.

The Gunners manager stated, “Fabio played his first minutes in the Premier League this season, and I was really impressed with how he wanted the ball, how positive he was, the decisions he made, and the attitude he displayed from the beginning.

“Fabio was engaged in all of our creations, which makes me extremely happy. To witness performers with the ability to make and take quality risks. It is my responsibility that Fabio has not played more, and he has given me reasons today to play him more.”

Arteta expressed a similar sentiment towards the conclusion of the 2022/23 season, when Vieira was struggling for playing time with the first team.

The former Manchester City assistant manager stated after the Europa League match with Sporting, “We’re really happy with him, and I think he deserves more minutes than he’s had in the last two months.” As you saw tonight, he was one of our deadly players who made things happen; he is a player I adore.”

Vieira cannot perform as well as Rice or Havertz, but he can perform as well as Odegaard for the team. If he receives playing time, it will likely come at the expense of Arsenal’s No. 8. However, can Arteta really dismiss his captain? Does he possess the ability to make such a decision? If the decision will benefit the team, he should make it.

Martin Odegaard is orchestrating the new Arsenal midfield.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *