Mikel Arteta reveals what Arsenal's Martin Odegaard needs to improve in his game ahead of Watford clash

Ahead of Arsenal's pivotal clash with Watford, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been running the rule over midfielder Martin Odegaard, who joined the club permanently in the summer of 2021.

The midfielder, tasked with replacing Mesut Ozil in the north London side's midfield, has turned in a number of impressive performances so far this season as he has helped the young Arsenal side stage an unlikely push for Champions League football next season.

Should they win against Watford, and Manchester United lose to Manchester City on Sunday afternoon, the Gunners would find themselves 1 point clear of the Red Devils, with three games in hand on Ralf Rangnick's men.

Plenty still to improve

Despite Odegaard's form, Arteta is not getting carried away.

Speaking to BT Sport, the Gunners manager was quick to praise his Norweigan midfielder, but also outlined areas of improvement for the 23-year-old going forwards.

“Martin for us is a really important player, that’s for sure,” the Arsenal boss said.

“He’s showing that every single week. He’s phenomenal to work with. He’s developing areas of his game that we discussed, that he agreed, and that we believed could help him impact matches in a much more powerful way.

“His whole mindset, the way he prepares himself, the way he treats people, the way he plays the game, is just exactly what we want from an Arsenal player', he added.

So, what could he improve to take his game to the very highest level? According to Arteta, the magician needs to play further forward and grab more goals, having only managed four so far this season.

“He needs to create more goals, he needs to score more goals, he needs to make more runs in behind, he needs to be closer to the strikers to give them support, and he can do that', Arteta told the media.

'He needs to score more free kicks. He can still contribute more on our set pieces. His defensive work is phenomenal.'

'There are areas where he can only get better, and the only way to get better is to agree on them, and then practise.'

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Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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