Arsenal

Arsenal

Premier League • England

Arteta reserves special praise for Arsenal star as stellar role spelled out

Jonny Whitfield
Mikel Arteta Arsenal

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta picked out Martin Odegaard as one of the stars of the 5-0 Boxing Day win over Premier League strugglers Norwich.

The Norway international assisted both of the Gunners’ opening two goals as the Gunners cruised into the lead. While it was a special performance from the 22-year-old, it is a sign of his recent form.

Indeed, he has now notched three goals and three assists in his past six games.

Arteta told his club’s official website: “I think he is playing fantastically well. He helps us a lot, he glides the team together and I am really pleased with him.

“It was very good [today]. A really traditional day in this country and to play football in this atmosphere, it was great.”

Many of Odegaard’s team-mates are replicating his strong form.

Striker Alexandre Lacazette scored and assisted against Norwich, while Bukayo Saka added two goals of his own.

Finally, Emile Smith Rowe, who has had to play from the bench in recent weeks, continued to prove his worth. In fact, he scored in his third substitute appearance in a row to make it 5-0 late on.

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Arteta added: “I think we performed and played really good, we were really consistent and a real threat throughout the game and I am really pleased with the way we attacked and defended.”

Arsenal, who lost all three of their opening three matches and consequently sat bottom, recently hit a rough patch with defeats to Liverpool, Manchester United and Everton after putting together a 10-match unbeaten run before then.

However, they have now started another good run of five wins in a row, conceding only twice in that period.

Midfielder Thomas Partey has been influential in Arsenal’s engine room and he spoke of the delight at being part of the team.

Partey enjoying role with Arteta, Arsenal

Thomas Partey in action for Arsenal

The Ghana international said: “It is very enjoyable, I enjoy a lot playing with them.

“They are good talents, a lot of people around that can play with them and they have a lot of quality in front of goal and they can score at any time, so it is a joyful moment playing with them.

“We feel very happy. This is a game we really enjoyed. We have had a couple of games now where the team is doing very well and performing and I think this is what we have to keep doing.

“I think we are working harder, we are doing what we have to do, everyone is playing their role very well and that is the mentality that the coach wants us to play with and enjoy one the field and that is what we are doing.”

However, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is not enjoying his recent run. He has been dropped following a disciplinary breach. Arteta remained tight-lipped over his future when asked again after the Norwich game.