Premier League • England

Arsenal hero tips elite Gunners star to receive almighty Arteta snub amid ‘sloppy’ form

Mikel Arteta managing Arsenal

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta

Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit has expressed concern about the ‘sloppy’ performances of Gunners captain Martin Odegaard, while also backing Mikel Arteta to strip him of the captaincy and give it to Declan Rice.

Odegaard was in fantastic form last season, as he notched 15 goals and eight assists to help Arsenal challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title. The attacking midfielder will have been dreaming about lifting the trophy for the North London side, but they were ultimately beaten to it by City.

Odegaard has not quite been as effective this term, as he has registered four goals and one assist in 14 matches so far.

While most Arsenal fans will expect his true ability to come to light in the next few weeks, Petit has provided his rather worrying take on the Norwegian. The pundit has also heaped praise on Odegaard’s midfield team-mate Rice, backing him to eventually steal the armband.

“I’m a big fan, a huge, huge fan of Declan Rice,” he said (via talkSPORT). “I think since he stepped up into the team, he gave the impression that he’s been there for ages.

“He’s been like a leader and rolled into the team, and off the pitch he’s so important. For me, he can be the next captain of the Gunners, with [Bukayo] Saka, because he’s from the academy.

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“Declan Rice has so much quality as a person but as a player as well. For me he’s number one into the team [sheet].”

Petit’s attention then turned to Odegaard, and he was far less enthused when speaking about the former Real Madrid man.

Martin Odegaard ‘looks sloppy’ – Emmanuel Petit

“Odegaard recently looks sloppy on the pitch with no creativity and he looks tired as well physically,” he said.

“Probably the fact that we’re playing top, top games every three days has an impact, and the fact there’s not a big rotation in the first XI with Arteta, that could be a problem as well.

“I remember when it gets to that stage of the season especially the last few weeks of the season when important players get injured. Odegaard, when he plays well, most of the time Arsenal win the game.

“The last couple of games he was not the same player on the pitch. That has an impact on Arsenal’s competitiveness.”

Odegaard will be hoping to silence his small amount of critics when Arsenal are next in action. They face struggling Sheffield United at home on Saturday afternoon. After that, Arsenal will come up against fellow London side West Ham in the League Cup on Wednesday November 1.

Meanwhile, Ajax are planning a raid on Arsenal for someone who is key to Arteta’s success, according to reports.