Saturday, April 22, 2023

Martin Odegaard can't hide frustration with Thomas Partey as Arsenal title hopes dented

Martin Odegaard cut a frustrated figure when Thomas Partey decided to shoot from 30 yards as the seconds ticked away during the final minute of Arsenal’s 3-3 draw against Southampton.

The Ghanaian had plenty of options ahead of him as he drove to the edge of the box, with Odegaard one of the red shirts on his right. However, instead Partey chose to try his luck from range and his effort whistled way over the bar – to the annoyance of his team-mates.

Odegaard was particularly unimpressed with Partey as the Arsenal captain threw his hands down by his side and turned his back on the midfielder. He was clearly frustrated Partey did not pass and chose to go for glory, although passing may have been the better option to work a chance for his team.

Gary Neville was perplexed about Partey’s decision making during that moment. He said on co-commentary for Sky Sports: “The crowd are shouting, they can’t believe he’s taken that option. An experienced player like that. It’s absolutely crazy and Mikel Arteta will be furious with him, he just has to play a pass to Odegaard who is 10 yards away.”

It occurred in the 98th minute of a pulsating affair at the Emirates Stadium as Arsenal came from behind to rescue a point in their pursuit of a first Premier League title in 19 years. Southampton had raced into a two-nil lead thanks to Carlos Alcaraz and Theo Walcott, before Gabriel Martinelli pulled one back for the Gunners.

However, the Arsenal fans were stunned midway through the second-half when Duje Caleta Car restored Southampton’s two-goal cushion to put them in dreamland. There was still a twinkle in the air that felt the game wasn’t done and dusted there though as Saints closed in on a rare victory.

Arsenal showed a never-say-die attitude in the final stages of the game to battle back and secure a point. First, Martin Odegaard struck from range for his 12th Premier League goal of the season, before Bukayo Saka slammed home in the 90th minute as the Gunners moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League table.

Speaking after a dramatic game, Mikel Arteta told Sky Sports : “We are obviously unhappy with the result, We made it very difficult again for ourselves but mistakes are part of football but the way we reacted I love my players more than ever.

“It is incredible, we were on the way back, we conceded again with a sloppy goal but in the end we should have won the game.

“We created enough chances and opportunities but it didn’t happen and we are disappointed. You can’t concede three goals in this league, if you concede three like we did in a sloppy way it is very difficult to win matches. This young team reacts in a way that is incredible, when it is against the odds but the chances they created and the spirit they had it was a joy to watch.

“The message is clear that I love them. We are down and they are more willing than anybody to win it. You can see that spirit and fight in the dressing room but it is clear we have to do defensively things better.”

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