While the headlines have been dominated by his former captain, Mikel Arteta has paid tribute to the impact made by Arsenal ’s current skipper Martin Odegaard.
The Norwegian attacking midfielder, 23, leads the Gunners into battle at Manchester United on Sunday on the back of the Premier League ’s only 100percent record so far this season.
Odegaard has scored in two of those five wins out of five. He has also provided a quiet leadership as the momentum in the red half of north London starts to build.
“He’s a really humble, hungry player,” said Arteta. “that has a tremendous quality.
“He puts that quality to the service of the team. He’s always willing to do things for others and he’s a great role model for the rest of the players and staff.”
Asked about Aubameyang, whose Gunners contract was torn up after he was stripped of the captaincy in January, Arteta added: “I wish him all the best. That’s it.”
Arsenal’s stunning start to the season is their best since the 2004-05 campaign, when they went on to finish second.
Asked whether the run justified his decision to hand the responsibility to Odegaard, Arteta added: “We tried to pick the person and professional who, in our opinion, represented the best who we are as a club and what we want to be as a team and so far Martin has done that.”
Arteta’s men are also in fine goalscoring form with Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli also having scored three times so far this season.
Famed for his team-talks as Arsenal’s fragility last season cost them a place in the Champions League, Arteta admitted his men now need a new voice with confidence coursing through their veins.
“In every period a team needs a different coach. What they needed a month ago, six months ago, to what they need now is different. We have to work and adapt and try to understand what the temperature is in the dressing room.”
Arsenal fans took to social media on Transfer Deadline night to complain about the failure to land Aston Villa’s Brazilian midfielder Douglas Luiz.
But Arteta chose to praise the efforts of Technical Director Edu Gaspar and the club for backing the recruitment of five players to the tune of over £100million before pre-season.
It left the squad organised and well-prepared ahead of the current campaign in which they continue to blaze a trail.
Arteta said: “It’s about expectations. Probably everybody was expecting we could do something with the departures we had.
“We cannot forget what we did early. We are happy with the squad we have.
“The board has pushed the boat very, very far to try to accommodate the situation we have. The ownership has been absolutely brilliant. Everybody can see that.”
Oleksandr Zinchenko remains a doubt for Sunday’s showdown with a slight knee sprain.
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