Martin Odegaard was a driving force as Arsenal fought back from 3-0 down to earn a point at West Ham
With his side in a catastrophic position at half time, it was Martin Odegaard once again who dazzled as Arsenal somehow rescued a point at West Ham on Sunday.
Goals from Jesse Lingard, Jarrod Bowen and Tomas Soucek saw the hosts race into a commanding three-goal lead with little over half an hour on the clock.
Despite the sloppy start, Arsenal levelled eight minutes from time when Alexandre Lacazette powered home a header at the far post following own goals from Soucek and Craig Dawson.
The Gunners sparked into life like someone had flicked a switch upon conceding West Ham’s third goal and quickly took control of the game, eventually earning themselves a point.
There were a number of positive displays from Arsenal players, the first 30 minutes or so aside, but Odegaard stood out. The Real Madrid man is showing his boss and the club’s faithful exactly why they should prioritise signing him on a permanent deal this summer.
His ability to play defence-splitting passes with disguise helped him create numerous scoring opportunities. His close control saw him retain possession in congested areas despite having two or three West Ham players around him at times. But beyond all of that, his work rate and application was highly impressive. He’s showing everything Mikel Arteta wanted to see from Mesut Ozil.
There are some similarities between the two. Both have the ability to exploit pockets of space, both have a wand of a left foot and the vision to spot passes very few others can see, they each have history with Real Madrid and even share the same initials.
Ozil was unwilling to meet Arteta’s physical demands and failed in recent seasons to deliver with any consistency, while Odegaard has hit the ground running in north London. Aside from his technical attributes, his fitness and workmanlike attitude help him contribute to the forward press and add another dimension to the Gunners’ frontline.
While Arsenal fans will be delighted with what they’re seeing currently from their attacking midfielder, with every positive display the 22-year-old turns in Real Madrid’s asking price for him will creep up slightly. If the club are to end the season with European glory or sneak into the top six, Odegaard’s ability to unlock defences will prove key.
Arteta clearly didn’t feel he could trust Ozil to deliver both creatively and physically, so much so that he didn’t register him in the club’s Premier League squad for the first half of the season. It’s clear Odegaard arrived with the boss’ trust, something Ozil was never able to earn.