Arsenal 3-1 West Ham: Sensational Odegaard inspires Arsenal

Arsene Wenger’s first trip back to the Emirates since leaving the club in 2018 capped a brilliant Boxing Day win for Arsenal.

“It was a very special day, thank you so much to him for coming said the current Gunners boss Arteta.

“We wanted to keep it quiet and allow that space for Arsene. I’ve been involved in the process (of bringing him) but it’s about him, the timing he needed to make that step and hopefully he’s going to leave here and be willing to spend more time with us and be around us because he is such an influence. For me personally, in my career, the way I see the game but as well for this football club.”

Arsenal dominated the first half with 72 per cent of the possession. They were frustrated going into break behind to a generous penalty.

The Gunners produced a stunning second-half comeback. It started with two goals in five minutes from Bukayo Saka (53) and Gabriel Martinelli (58). Two wide men scoring has been a theme this season and long may it continue.

The third goal was perhaps the most pleasing of the night for me. It gave us a cushion to control the game and Eddie Nketiah, leading the line for Arsenal in the absence of Gabriel Jesus, scoring in his first Premier League start of the season is a great confidence boost for him.

The pass from brilliant Odegaard for his goal was perfectly weighted, neatly pivoted around his markerbut the spin behind the defender and the finish into the bottom corner was first class.

This was the very definition of a captain’s performance by Odegaard, leading by example. Some of his passing was out of this world so was his work rate and organizational skill.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta on Martin Odegaard’s display:

“It was a top performance, and you will look at everything he did with the ball, but what he did without the ball as well, chapeau!

“The way he guided the team in many moments and the pressing he had playing today, he had a real impact.”

Arteta had not yet spoken to his predecessor as he addressed the media and admitted the victory was an ideal conversation starter.

He added. “Winning, my mood, it’s going to be much better to speak to him and be around the team. Yeah, he picked the right moment, a really special day because Boxing Day is a beautiful day to play football. I thought the performance was at the level today that we deserve, and hopefully he will like it.”

Victory extended Arsenal’s Premier League lead to seven points clear of second-placed Newcastle.

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