EPL

Arteta impressed by Odegaard impact since being made Arsenal captain

By Sports Desk August 30, 2022

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was full of praise for the impact Martin Odegaard has had on the team since being made captain last month.

The Norwegian midfielder was at the centre of Arsenal's comeback victory against Fulham on Saturday, scoring the equaliser in the 2-1 win at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners sit top of the embryonic Premier League table after winning their first four games of the season, with Odegaard scoring three goals already.

Speaking at a press conference ahead of Wednesday's home game against Aston Villa, Arteta pointed to the fact the former Real Madrid man has plenty of senior experience despite only being 23.

"The thing is, at 23, he's already had a lot of experience," he said. "He's already been exposed to a lot of pressure, especially individually, and obviously he's played for Madrid, he knows what it's about.

"But he does it in a natural way, it's on him and obviously he's developing that even more."

When asked if he had seen a change in Odegaard since taking over the armband, Arteta replied: "More humble. Even more humble. It's the way he is, more humble and more hungry. Good combination."

After the disappointment of missing out on Champions League football as they finished fifth in the league last season, it has been an impressive start to the campaign from Arsenal, but Arteta is aware there is plenty that can still be improved in his team.

"The most pleasing thing obviously is the performances with the results," he said. "The way we are playing, what we transmit as a team, and then obviously getting that into winning football matches, it's the reason why we are here.

"The things to improve, there are still a lot. There is individually and collectively a lot still to do, and we know what it is."

Arteta's men host a struggling Villa side next, with Steven Gerrard's team having lost three of their first four games of the season, including a 1-0 home defeat to West Ham on Sunday.

The Spanish coach will not underestimate the Villans, though, saying: "I was watching the other Premier League teams, how physical they are as well and every game here is a battle for everybody, and we don't expect anything different [against Villa].

"Villa are a top team, they have a big squad, top quality players, a good manager and we expect a difficult game here again on Wednesday."

Related items

  • Ferguson still better than Guardiola, says James Ferguson still better than Guardiola, says James

    Former Manchester City goalkeeper David James hails Pep Guardiola for "doing remarkable things" but believes he is still not at Alex Ferguson’s level.

    City became the first team in Premier League history to win four consecutive titles with their 3-1 win over West Ham on Sunday, pipping Arsenal to the crown by two points.

    Manchester United had previously won three consecutive Premier League seasons, achieving the feat twice under Ferguson (1998-2001 and 2006-2009).

    Guardiola’s side can create more history on Saturday as they aim to clinch unprecedented back-to-back league and FA Cup doubles against the Red Devils.

    Asked if this achievement put Guardiola’s name alongside Ferguson’s as the best Premier League manager, James, who spent two years with City, disagreed.

    "No, Fergie's still the best. Look at statistics and longevity," James told Stats Perform. "And even more so, since Fergie left, what's happened to Manchester United.

    "You can't even blame or use the excuse he had a good team and did well with it, Fergie rode the waves, he was up and down and even these downs weren't particularly bad.

    "I think third or fourth was probably the worst they ever did; Fergie was the best and Pep will have to hang around for another decade, I think, before he can actually challenge that position.

    "But what we're seeing at the moment, you've got a different style of football, a different type of game in so many different ways. The way the league is constructed at the moment with other competitions around it, Pep is having to do different things to what Fergie may have had to do.

    "I know Fergie was a great manager, but not necessarily the greatest coach. Pep is a great manager and a great coach. He's also got an extra string to his bow in that sense.

    "To be the winner of that league four years in a row, you need to be a superb manager. And I think Pep, in this short time frame, is doing some remarkable things, but he's going to have to hang around for a lot longer to take Ferguson's crown."

    Following their victory over West Ham, Guardiola stated that he was "closer to leaving than staying", raising speculation that next season could be his last.

    "I think the big question for Pep, and it is logical that he will now become the focus given that Jurgen Klopp announced his departure a few months ago, and all of a sudden it was nothing, but Jurgen and he will be the next focus," James added.

    "I think the thing for Pep is, what does he want to do as a person? And it's not that he's completed the treble and that's enough because I think that he would want to do a treble treble, you want to do a quadruple.

    "I can see that competitive side in him, he doesn't seem to change on the sidelines. Even yesterday, when they conceded the goal, and it was a fantastic goal from Kudus, he wasn't happy.

    "I think you can still see that he's still animated, still engaged with the game. There's no question that he's feeling tired in that sense.

    "I would like him to stay. I would like him to stay because I think when you've got someone so good, you need someone to beat them legitimately rather than them just step away and allow everyone else to play.

    "I think he should stay. And I'm sure City will do everything they can to keep him in charge for the foreseeable future."

  • Putellas signs two-year deal with Barcelona Putellas signs two-year deal with Barcelona

    Barcelona midfielder Alexia Putellas has signed a two-year deal until 2026, the club announced on Thursday.

    Putellas was due to be out of contract next month, but extends her 12-year relationship with Barcelona, with the new deal also including an option for an additional season.

    The 30-year-old is a two-time Ballon d’Or winner in 2021 and 2022, though she has struggled with injuries that have kept her sidelined since winning the second.

    Overall, she has made 424 appearances, scoring a record 189 goals for the club, playing a pivotal role in Barcelona’s recent domination in women’s football.

    Putellas has won 29 major trophies with Barcelona and is looking for another on Saturday when they face Lyon in the Champions League final.

    Having already clinched Liga F, the Copa de la Reina and the Spanish Supercopa this season, Putellas can help Barcelona to complete an unprecedented quadruple with a win over the French champions.

  • Sargent earns recall as Pulisic, Balogun and Adams headline USA's preliminary Copa America squad Sargent earns recall as Pulisic, Balogun and Adams headline USA's preliminary Copa America squad

    United States coach Gregg Berhalter has named a 27-man preliminary squad ahead of the Copa America.

    Josh Sargent, the Norwich City forward, has earned a recall to the USA squad for the upcoming friendlies against Brazil and Colombia, and is set to feature for his country for the first time since 2022.

    With first-choice right-back Sergino Dest injured, meanwhile, Berhalter has turned to Nashville SC's Shaq Moore in defence.

    Christian Pulisic, Tyler Adams, Matt Turner, Weston McKennie and Brendan Aaronson are among the established names to feature.

    Former Arsenal forward Folarin Balogun, who opted to represent the USA rather than England, has also made the cut, as has Coventry City's Haji Wright, who has had a strong season in England's second tier.

    Berhalter explained Sargent had been called up to give him another option in attack, with Wright seen primarily as a wide option.

    "Between their club form and what they've done for the national team in the past, we think it's a talented group of strikers," he said.

    Giovanni Reyna, the 21-year-old Borussia Dortmund attacker who has been on loan at Nottingham Forest since January, has also been included, despite a feud between Berhalter and the playmaker's family in the wake of the World Cup.

    Antonee Robinson has had another impressive season with Fulham, and has been called up alongside club-mate Tim Ream.

    Former Manchester City goalkeeper Zack Steffen was a notable omission, as were MLS stars Jesus Ferreira and Jordan Morris.

    "This summer presents an opportunity for us to progress and grow as a team as we continue to build towards the 2026 FIFA World Cup," Berhalter said.

    "We have a talented group of players and are excited about the opportunity to compete against some of the best teams in the world."

    Berhalter will cut down his squad after the friendlies, with Copa hosts USA taking on Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia in Group C.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.