Over the last couple of years, Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard has established himself as one of the world’s best midfielders.
The Gunners captain has gone from strength to strength as the right-sided number eight in Mikel Arteta’s setup, consistently finding the back of the net. In fact, only five players have scored more non-penalty Premier League goals than Odegaard since the start of the 2022/23 campaign.
These numbers read even more impressive when you consider that all five of those players are forwards whilst the Norway international is very much a midfielder. The former Real Madrid playmaker has scored a whopping 16 non-penalty league goals in the last 12 months, with his most recent coming on Sunday during his side’s 3-1 victory over Manchester United.
For context, United creative maestro Bruno Fernandes has scored six non-penalty goals in the same period, ten less than Odegaard, which makes Kevin De Bruyne’s recent ranking of the two players even more puzzling. When asked to rank Fernandes, Odegaard and Tottenham’s James Maddison, the Manchester City star put the Portugal international first, with Odegaard second and Maddison third.
“I think he’s a creative machine, just in general,” De Bruyne told Sky Sports when discussing Fernandes. “I think Odegaard is very creative but he’s a little more controlled, Maddison is really creative, but I need to see more of him in a big team, so that can change. That’s why I put him number three.”
When asked why he put the United star above Arsenal’s skipper, he added: “He’s been doing it for a long time. Odegaard were amazing last year but obviously, he’s younger so there’s a difference in there.”
Former Tottenham Hotspur star Garth Crooks made sure to give Odegaard his flowers after the Gunners’ aforementioned victory over the Red Devils, naming him in his Premier League team of the week. Writing for the BBC, Crooks said: “His equaliser 35 seconds after Manchester United had taken the lead was a lifesaver for Arsenal.
“The longer the game continued without that reply the more desperate they would have become. Odegaard’s finish was first class. The ball came from a difficult angle so his technique had to be spot-on – and it was.
“He struck the ball so sweetly it flew past Andre Onana in the Manchester United goal.”