Gunners player ratings: Man City 5-0 Arsenal
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Louis van Gaal has explained why Martin Odegaard will be a success at Arsenal following the playmaker’s permanent transfer from Real Madrid. The Norwegian enjoyed a successful loan spell with the Gunners last season, which convinced the club to splash out £30million last month.
Arsenal’s form improved when Odegaard agreed to a temporary deal in January, although it was not enough to prevent another eighth-placed Premier League finish.
The attacking midfielder played 20 times across all competitions and helped the North Londoners to the semi-final of the Europa League.
Odegaard’s return was part of a big-spending summer overhaul of Mikel Arteta’s squad.
Arsenal spent the most money of any Premier League club, with Odegaard joined at the club by Ben White, Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Aaron Ramsdale. Takehiro Tomiyasu was signed on deadline day.
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The club have endured a tough start to the new season and Arteta is under pressure to turn results around. Successive 2-0 defeats by Brentford and Chelsea were followed by a 5-0 thumping at Manchester City.
Odegaard made his second debut in the latter fixture. He has since gone away on international duty and has been praised by opposition manager Van Gaal.
The 22-year-old captained Norway during their 1-1 draw with the Netherlands on Wednesday. Erling Haaland’s early goal was cancelled out by Davy Klaassen.
Van Gaal praised Norwegian pair Odegaard and Haaland and hailed the Arsenal star as a ‘fantastic passer’.
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He told Norwegian outlet VG: “They have a fantastic striker, Haaland, and they have a fantastic passer, Odegaard.”
Arteta will hope that Odegaard can make a big contribution when he returns from Norway’s camp.
Arsenal thrashed a young Brentford team 4-0 in a friendly on Thursday, as the Spaniard continues to ensure his new signings settle into his squad.
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Odegaard will likely go back into the team for upcoming fixtures against Norwich City and Burnley.
“I was really happy [to sign Martin] because at one stage we thought it wouldn’t be possible. Madrid wasn’t very keen on selling the player,” Arteta said when Odegaard was signed last month.
“Martin always expressed his desire to come, but it wasn’t looking very possible and then the door opened and straight away the club was really supportive.
“Edu did a great job to manage the situation and we got the player that we wanted and we know because we have experience already with him for six months.
“I think he makes the rest of the players around him better. His work ethic is phenomenal, the way he goes about his job, his professionalism, his character, he’s a very likeable person.
“I think he has fitted really well into the culture and then for the way we want to play he’s a player with exceptional qualities to add to them.”
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