Pundit hails Martin Odegaard leadership qualities; sees a completely different Arsenal this season

·3-min read
Martin Odegaard Arsenal July 2022 Credit: PA Images
Martin Odegaard Arsenal July 2022 Credit: PA Images

Former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell believes the Gunners dressing room has become much stronger under Martin Odegaard’s leadership, following the Norwegian’s comments after the loss at Manchester United.

Despite the negative result at Old Trafford, with Arsenal suffering their first loss of the season, Campbell was hugely impressed with his old side’s display against Erik ten Hag’s men.

The Gunners lost the game 3-1 and speaking afterwards, Odegaard revealed his frustration at a game that there to be won.

Indeed, many pundits were critical of Mikel Arteta’s substitutions as he chased the game at Old Trafford.

The Spaniard brought on Emile Smith Rowe, Eddie Nketiah and Fabio Vieira for Odegaard, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Albert Sambi Lokonga with his side 2-1 down.

However, United added a third just 60 seconds later and the match was effectively over.

Arteta got sub calls wrong

That left Arsenal legend Paul Merson questioning Arteta’s decisions, telling Sky Sports: “I thought the triple substitution was a bit of a knee-jerk reaction from Arteta.

“There was another 20 minutes in the game and at 2-1 down there’s another chance in the game. I just thought it was too many subs at the same time and I think they lost it there.

“Man Utd went solid and brought Fred on so they were always going to give you the ball so you want your better players on the pitch. Arsenal were playing well and they lost their shape.

“Aaron Ramsdale had not made a save. It was not like he was man of the match. So just keep it tight at the back and you will get a chance in the game.

“They will cause havoc in the last 15 minutes, people would have got nervous here, players would have got nervous. For me it was a knee-jerk reaction too quickly with 20 minutes to go.”

Campbell sees Arsenal reasons to be cheerful

But despite plenty of criticism, Campbell thinks things are on the up at The Emirates.

He told Football Insider: “This group is coming together. You can see that.

“The way they played at Old Trafford, you could see Mikel Arteta’s ideas. They are not scared to come to Old Trafford and take United on.

“Manchester United starting the game really well. Once they got a grip of that game, United never wrestled it away from them. Yes, they broke away and scored but Arsenal were always the dominant team.

“We didn’t get the points but sometimes you have to look beyond that. You have to look at the performance and go, ‘We are not far off.’ Let’s have it right, if Arsenal were clinical they would win that game all day long.”

The Gunners are next in action on Thursday night when they take on FC Zurich in Switzerland.

READ MORE: Arsenal prepared to splash out £43m to sign top Ukraine attacker

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