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Thoughts on Martin Odegaard’s Contract Situation

The Arsenal players have returned from the international break with no injuries reported, which is very great. Martin Odegaard was one of the players that featured for his country, scoring a goal in the 2-1 win over Georgia. It was a sweet goal, reminiscent of his goal against Manchester United this season, good stuff at the edge of the box.

It has been quite the year for Odegaard, smashing his personal records in terms of goals, and receiving awards that he deserved – Arsenal Player of the 2022/23 season, London Awards Player of the Year, a place in the 2022/23 Premier League Team of the Year and even a nomination for the shortlist of the Men’s Ballon D’Or, which is downright amazing.

I remember when he joined Arsenal on loan in the 2020/21 season in January, shortly after he agitated for a move from Real Madrid due to lack of game time. He scored two goals in 20 appearances for Arsenal that season, and many weren’t too convinced on him, despite the fact that he was a decent performer that campaign.

Moving permanently to Arsenal for £35m was a steal in my honest opinion but Odegaard continued to grow in stature in the 2021/22 season, and must have been gutted to miss out of Champions League qualification with his teammates.

With the departure of Alex Lacazette, Odegaard was appointed Arsenal captain by Mikel Arteta, which was a great show of faith from the gaffer, and you don’t need me to tell you what a monster campaign Odegaard had last season.

This season the captain has scored two goals in four Premier League games – the high pressure penalty at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace and the all-important equalizer for Arsenal against Manchester United which pegged the visitors back and brought the wind to the Gunners. While on international duty with Norway, Odegaard was asked about his contract extension with the club. His current deal expires in 2025, but Arsenal has a clause to extend it by an additional year.

The captain stated that he doesn’t have much to say about the new contract but he’s very happy at the club and hopes to stay for a long time. It is believed that Arsenal’s extension will come with a significant pay increase and it will be no less than he deserves.

Odegaard clearly loves his time with us and he’s at the forefront of the exciting project at the club which is focused on winning trophies. So it’s only a matter of time before we get the news that he has confirmed the contract extension with the club.


Reviewing Arsenal’s Players in the Team of the Season

Odegaard Leads Arsenal To Top Of The Premier League – Channels Television

Appearing in the Team of the Season is a just reward for being an epitome of consistency for the entirety of a campaign, as each player competes against 19 other counterparts in a specific position on the pitch. Arsenal had gone beyond expectations this season to challenge for the Premier League, when all the fans had hoped for was just to return to Champions League contention, but a series of bad results in the business end of the campaign, proved costly for Mikel Arteta and his team, but some players within the squad have been recognized for their outstanding qualities in the cost of the season. 

Shown below is the Team of the Season XI, featuring four Arsenal players.

Ramsdale; Trippier – Saliba – Dias – Zinchenko; Casemiro – de Bruyne – Odegaard; Salah – Haaland – Rashford

Congratulations to the four lads that have rightly earned a place in the Premier League team of the season, and I’d like to take a closer look at their performances in the Premier League this season.

Aaron Ramsdale

Key Stats: 

Games Played – 34

Clean Sheets – 12 

Goals Conceded – 39

Saves Made – 85

Ramsdale has been an ever-present for Arsenal this season, making the No. 1 jersey his for keeps after ousting Bernd Leno from the team and taking his jersey number after he departed to Fulham. This season, Ramsdale has been uber-consistent for the Gunners making critical saves with each passing game.

He will want to forget his error against Southampton, but we can all agree that there was no goalie deserving of the award this season. The only mystery remains whether Gareth Southgate will do the needful when the time arrives. 

William Saliba

Key Stats: 

Games Played – 27

Clean Sheets – 12

Discipline – Four Yellow Cards

Attacking Output – Two goals, One Assist

Tackles Per Game: 1.3

Interceptions Per Game: 0.7

Aerial Duels Won Per Game: 2.0

Clearances Per Game: 3.0

Dribbled Past Per Game: 0.1

Blocks Made Per Game: 0.4

Average Passes Per Game: 69

Long Balls Per Game: 2.4

Key Passes Per Game: 0.2

Pass Completion Percentage: 91%

William Saliba finally came of age this season following his loan stints at St. Etienne, OGC Nice and Olympique Marseille, shunting Ben White to the right back position and forging a telepathic understanding with Gabriel. His outstanding performances in just 27 games played showed how important he has become to this Arsenal side, so important that Arsenal hasn’t kept a clean sheet since Saliba’s last league appearance against Fulham in Craven Cottage. 

In Saliba’s absence, the Arsenal defense has fallen apart like dominoes and it proved costly with the Gunners dropping points in critical games, while their fellow title challengers, Man City, closed the gap and eventually went ahead.

We are unlikely to see Saliba in action again this season due to his recurring back injury, and I can only hope he comes back strong next season, as well as the Gunners getting better backup in his prolonged absence.

Oleksandr Zinchenko

Key Stats: 

Games Played – 25 (one substitute app)

Clean Sheets – 9

Discipline – Three Yellow Cards

Attacking Output – One goal, Two Assists

Shots Per Game: 1.1

Tackles Per Game: 1.5

Interceptions Per Game: 0.8

Aerial Duels Won Per Game: 1.8

Clearances Per Game: 1.1

Dribbled Past Per Game: 0.7

Blocks Made Per Game: 0.1

Average Passes Per Game: 64.5

Long Balls Per Game: 2.4

Key Passes Per Game: 0.7

Through Balls Per Game: 0.1

Pass Completion Percentage: 87.7%

I remember how excited I was when Arsenal was linked with a move for Ajax’s Lisandro Martinez, but he chose to join his former manager, Erik Ten Hag, at Manchester United, forcing Arsenal to go for their backup option, Oleksandr Zinchenko.

In all honesty, I wasn’t overly excited with the move, as Zinchenko wasn’t a regular at Man City, even though I caught glimpses of his quality in his Man City days. However, watching Zinchenko play for Arsenal, and seeing how he revolutionized our attacking play with him doubling up as a central midfielder and left back, I fell straight in love. The arrival of Zinchenko galvanized Granit Xhaka, giving him a new lease of life and honing his attacking output that became beneficial to the team.

Defensively, Zinchenko has been caught out a couple of times, but he offers a lot more to the side, which includes leadership, as he has visibly rallied the lads in hurdles, barking motivational words when the chips are down.  

Martin Odegaard

Key Stats: 

Games Played – 33

Man of the Match Awards – 9

Discipline – Four Yellow Cards

Attacking Output – 14 goals, Seven Assists

Shots Per Game: 2.6

Dribbles Made Per Game: 1.3

Aerial Duels Won Per Game: 0.4

Average Passes Per Game: 45.7

Long Balls Per Game: 1.6

Key Passes Per Game: 2.1

Through Balls Per Game: 0.3

Pass Completion Percentage: 84.4%

Martin Odegaard has been a phenomenon this season, raising the mantle of his captaincy and leading the team on the pitch where it matters the most. He has also turned up with many important goals that won games for the team when others couldn’t come through. 

He won the Player of the Year award in the London Awards and it was much deserved. It’s good to see him getting recognized for what has been a downright outstanding season for him.


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Latest Injury Updates on Odegaard, G. Jesus and Trossard

Three things noticed from Gabriel Jesus' first Arsenal training session  after £45m move - Mirror Online

Following what was quite an intense battle against Sporting CP in Lisbon, the Premier League returns to our screens with Bournemouth hosting red-hot Liverpool in the lunch time fixture, but everyone connected with Arsenal will take keen interest on the proceedings at Selhurst Park in the last fixture, when former Gunner, Patrick Vieira, leads his men against the defending champions, Manchester City. The Cityzens know that a win against Crystal Palace cuts the lead at the top to two points once again, putting Mikel Arteta’s men under intense pressure to come up with the goods against Fulham away.

Arteta will have some injury concerns to contend with, and as we are already aware, Mohamed Elneny remains the only long term absentee thus far, after going under the knife to mitigate a knee injury and following his new contract extension, the Egyptian midfielder will remain at the club for another campaign, which will give him the chance to say his goodbyes the right way when that contract expires.

Injuries are part and parcel of the beautiful game and what matters the most is how clubs react to them. Elneny got injured at a time when Arsenal’s midfield general, Thomas Partey, had his own injury concerns, and with Albert Sambi Lokonga set to depart the club on loan, it was absolutely essential for the Gunners to add quantity and quality to the midfield, and that came from a surprising transfer – Jorginho from London rivals, Chelsea. Jorginho hit the ground running from the get-go allowing Arsenal the opportunity to allow Partey recuperate fully well from his injury, and we have reaped the benefits of that, with Jorginho being a positive influence, on and off the pitch.

Elsewhere, club captain, Martin Odegaard, has been a mainstay in the first team and his attacking output has been exemplary, scoring nine goals and laying up six assists for his teammates. He trained well with the team and even travelled to Lisbon to be part of the squad to take on Sporting CP, but he became unwell and couldn’t feature in the game, putting his next clash against Fulham at risk. It’s been reported that Odegaard is recovering well from his illness and the Viking chieftain is very hopeful he would feature in the all-important clash against Fulham, but he will have to go through a fitness test to ascertain whether he will be fit enough to start. 

Odegaard’s position in the squad is one that Mikel Arteta is stacked with options should the captain not be fit enough to start. Fabio Vieira is finding his rhythm in the side and will be pleased with his assist in his native country in midweek, and his style of play is somewhat similar to the Norwegian. Emile Smith-Rowe is another plausible option to play the Odegaard role, but the Englishman is still working his way to full fitness and isn’t really for the big time yet. Arteta can also tear a script from the Liverpool handbook and play three tenacious industrious hard workers – Partey, Jorginho and Granit Xhaka in midfield, but that’s highly unlikely, as it would affect the dynamism of the attacking play.

Gabriel Jesus is another player itching for a comeback, with his last competitive appearance for Arsenal coming before the World Cup in Qatar. Jesus didn’t feature much in the mundial, and managed to start alongside Gabriel Martinelli in the dead rubber game against Cameroon, but he suffered a knee injury that required surgery, sidelining him for the best part of four months. 

Jesus has been heavily involved in some training sessions, but he will be assessed ahead of the clash against Fulham tomorrow,

“We will try not to rush him back, we will try to make a fair assessment between what he needs and when he’s comfortable, as well as give the team a boost that they will need in the next few weeks.

“Everything is going well, he needs time to get himself that confident and physical state to compete with a free mind, and when he is free to do that, we will throw him in.”

With Eddie Nketiah suffering a knock on his ankle and Leandro Trossard having a groin injury (more on his anon), Gabriel Martinelli has been tasked with the burden of spearheading Arsenal’s attack and he was on the end of some good chances against Sporting CP on Thursday with the pick of the bunch, being that solo effort that was quelled by some last-ditch defending. Martinelli showed good hold up play and off the ball movement associated with a modern complete center forward, so I would expect Arteta to listen to the medical team and make the best decision regarding Jesus. 

One player whose injury came at the worst possible time was Trossard, who had nailed a spot as the center forward ahead of Nketiah, and played a pivotal role in Martinelli’s rise in form. Like Jorginho, Trossard joined the club in January, following the failed pursuit of Mykhailo Mudryk, and showed his immense quality, playing a role in the match winner against Manchester United and opening his Arsenal goalscoring account against Brentford. The Belgian maverick scored a sumptuous scorcher against Leicester but VAR played a role in cancelling the effort. 

After just 22 minutes in the home clash against Bournemouth, Trossard signaled to the bench that he felt some discomfort and had to leave the pitch and head straight to the tunnel, and it’s never a good sight seeing a player go all the way, rather than hanging out with his buddies on the bench. The initial prognosis on Trossard’s groin injury is that its not as bad as everyone feared, but he will not be available for selection till after the international break at the very least. 

I’d preview the Fulham game tomorrow after getting more updates from Mikel Arteta’s presser. 


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