Martin Odegaard new position will change Saka & Smith Rowe roles
Odegaard featured on the right-wing for Norway as he captained his side to victory, but despite his critics, he has given Arteta a healthy problem to solve
Martin Odegaard has handed Mikel Arteta a headache ahead of Arsenal’s first game from the international following a dazzling display for Norway.
The 22-year-old featured on the right-wing for his country as Erling Haaland and Mohamed Elyounoussi fired the Norwegians to a two-goal victory over Latvia in the latest World Cup qualifying installment.
Odegaard seasoned the clash with an assortment of playmaking excellence highlighting the similar effect he could have for the Gunners cutting inside off the right channels.
Norway’s captain recorded three key passes, five successful dribbles and peppered the attacking third with crosses, long balls and threaded through passes; drawing defenders towards him to open up space for others.
Despite Odegaard’s display operating in the right-sided half-spaces, he has been primarily utilized as a traditional number ten under Arteta highlighting an insight into the Spaniard’s blueprints of operation.
Arteta has therefore been left to solve the puzzle ahead of the north London clash with Norwich City. This could leave Bukayo Saka and Nicolas Pepe clambering for vital minutes.
Should the Arsenal boss choose to optimize Odegaard’s creative potential Pepe and Saka may miss out on critical playtime that will see the pair compete with the Norwegian as well as Gabriel Martinelli and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the left-wing.
In the current 4-2-3-1 shape that has been used by Arteta, Emile Smith Rowe will be freed from the shackles on the wing and operate as a ten, opening a new dimension of playmaking possibilities.
However, the Spaniard experimented with a back-five formation versus Brentford in a behind closed door friendly over the international break that saw the Gunners waltz away 4-0 victors.
In this formation, Arteta would be able to release Odegaard as a free-roaming playmaker who can cut inside off the right-wing without worrying about his responsibilities in wide areas due to the overlapping right wing-back.