Martin Odegaard determined to seal Arsenal Champions League berth after brief taste at Real Madrid

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 (Action Images via Reuters)
(Action Images via Reuters)

Martin Odegaard is determined to fire Arsenal to the Champions League this week because he never got a true taste of the competition during his time at Real Madrid.

Arsenal are currently sat fourth in the Premier League, four points ahead of Tottenham in fifth, and they will qualify for the Champions League if they win in Thursday night’s huge north London derby.

Mikel Arteta’s young side are hungry to test themselves against Europe’s best and that is certainly the case for Odegaard, who has captained the team in recent weeks.

The midfielder signed for Real Madrid as a teenager, but made just two Champions League appearances before leaving to join Arsenal last summer.

“I’ve played there (the Champions League), a few games, but I don’t feel like I’ve really played there,” said Odegaard. “I really want to get into there and fight. That’s where the best teams want to be of course, so that would be big for me and the club.

Martin Odegaard wants to lead Arsenal into the Champions League next season (Action Images via Reuters)
Martin Odegaard wants to lead Arsenal into the Champions League next season (Action Images via Reuters)

“We have a young team but I think with the young players we have, we have a lot of experience as well. We’ve been through a lot and we just enjoy playing football together and you can see that on the pitch. We enjoy it.”

Arsenal put themselves within touching distance of the Champions League yesterday by beating Leeds 2-1 at home. Eddie Nketiah scored twice inside the opening 10 minutes and, when Leeds defender Luke Ayling was sent off for a rash tackle on Gabriel Martinelli before the half-hour mark, it looked like Arsenal could run riot.

Leeds fought back, though, and Diego Llorente’s second-half strike set up a nervy finish at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal claimed all three points, however, and they have now won four games on the spin after previously losing three in a row.

“That’s all that matters, taking the three points. We have to win in different ways,” said Odegaard. “Last time [against West Ham] was not our best game, but we won.

“Today I think we played really good in some parts and other parts we had to fight. But we got the three points and that’s the most important thing, so we’re happy.

“I think it was a good win, an important win. We know the situation we’re in, so obviously we are very happy with the three points.

“Some parts of the game we have to do better and kill the game, but that’s all that matters today. We always knew it was going to be a fight until the end, but three points are all that matters.”

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