The Gunners moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League, with a game in hand, after Eddie Nketiah’s last-minute winner settled a thrilling encounter between the two old rivals at the Emirates Stadium.
A resurgent United had arrived in north London hoping to assert their own championship credentials, but defeat leaves Erik ten Hag’s men 11 points off the top, having played a game more than Arsenal, with the title race now surely between the leaders and defending champions City, who must still meet twice.
Mikel Arteta’s side had pulled eight points clear following last weekend’s derby victory over Tottenham, but had seen that gap trimmed to just two points by City, following their midweek comeback against Spurs and an Erling Haaland-inspired victory over Wolves earlier on Sunday.
Asked whether that brought additional pressure, Odegaard said: “No, honestly, we don’t care about City or any other team.
“We expected them to win [against Wolves], so that was not a big surprise, and we just focused on our game, to win — and that’s what we did. The way we won this game gives us a special feeling that will help as well.”
Marcus Rashford continued his fine form with a stunning opener for the visitors but, as has been a theme at the Emirates this season, Arsenal came roaring back, with Nketiah’s header levelling before the break and then Bukayo Saka’s terrific low strike edging Arteta’s men ahead.
“I think the fans as well did an amazing job again,” Odegaard said. “We went 1-0 down and they just started to applaud and cheer, helped us to get back into the game.
“It says a lot about the fans and also the mentality in the team to keep going and keep trying and believing until the last minute.”
Lisandro Martinez capitalised on an Aaron Ramsdale error to equalise, but Nketiah adjusted smartly to flick home Odegaard’s deflected effort to earn a 3-2 win and, after a nervy wait for a VAR check, spark bedlam.
Among the crowd was Polish defender Jakub Kiwior, who is set to complete his move from Spezia to Arsenal within the next 24 hours in a deal worth around £21million.
Kiwior, who has agreed a four-and-a-half-year contract, with the option of a further year, will become the Gunners’ second January signing, as head coach Arteta looks to bolster his squad in a bid to keep up the relentless pace that has seen them take 50 points from 19 League games so far.
Leandro Trossard, signed last week from Brighton, made his debut as a late substitute and impressed in a lively cameo.
“We’re really happy [with the signings],” Odegaard added. “[Trossard] was great when he came on, he took the ball and made things happen. He contributed to the last goal as well.
“It’s a long season. There are many games to be played, so we have to stay calm. Our only focus is the next game. We have to stay focused like this.”