Martin Odegaard drags Arsenal through choppy waters with captain’s display in rollercoaster Fulham clash

·2-min read
Martin Odegaard drags Arsenal through choppy waters with captain’s display in rollercoaster Fulham clash

At 1-0 down and with just over 30 minutes to go, this match against Fulham felt very much like being ‘one of those days’ for Arsenal.

They had dominated possession, particularly in the first-half where they had over 70 per cent of the ball, but couldn’t make it count.

Instead Fulham were organised and solid, looking a far cry from the team who were relegated from the Premier League two seasons ago with a whimper.

Bernd Leno, back at Emirates Stadium and in goal for Fulham, was having a solid game too and after Aleksandar Mitrovic’s opener he made a number of good stops to keep Arsenal at bay.

That Mitrovic opener summed up how Arsenal’s afternoon was going, with Gabriel caught dawdling in possession on his own box.

Mitrovic nicked the ball off to score and suddenly, after three wins on the spin, the Gunners were staring down the face of defeat.

They needed someone to lift them and, in the end, it was Martin Odegaard who stepped up to the plate.

The captain’s armband has had a chequered history with Arsenal recently, but the Norwegian so far looks to be unburdened by it. In fact, he seems to be relishing the responsibility.

As Arsenal pushed for an equaliser here he was at the heart of everything, linking play with some lovely intricate passes around the box.

Fittingly it was Odegaard who got the equaliser in the 64th minute, however for all his neat play this was a shot from outside the box that deflected past Leno.

The midfielder wheeled away in delight, but the first person he looked for was Gabriel, hugging him and motivating him after his howler for Fulham’s opener.

From that moment on, Arsenal pushed for a winner and Fulham dropped deeper and deeper as they tried to leave with a point after momentarily dreaming of having all three.

Odegaard again continued to make Arsenal tick and, while the other attackers struggled, he kept finding joy.

After bailing his team-mate out of jail, Gabriel then repaid the favour in the dying stages as he got the winner Arsenal craved.

A corner came in from the left and Leno failed to gather, with Gabriel on hand to bundle the ball home.

It summed up a rollercoaster afternoon for Arsenal and the Brazilian, who at the full-time whistle sank to his knees and pointed to the sky.

Arsenal have maintained their 100 per cent record and they have their captain to thank for dragging them there.