Mikel Arteta has said Martin Odegaard is the epitome of an Arsenal player after his “tremendous” performance against Leicester.
The Norwegian continued his rich vein of form with another influential display as the Gunners beat the Foxes 2-0 to move back into the top four.
Odegaard created six chances in the game, including five in the first half – the most chances created in the first half of a Premier League game by an Arsenal player since Mesut Ozil’s six against Everton in October 2017.
“He was great again today, in all aspects of the game; what he had to do in defence, when we were high and deep; in the build-up phases; in the final third, the way he understood and managed the game when it was needed,” Gunners boss Arteta said.
“He’s come a long way since he arrived, he shows great maturity and responsibility on the pitch and he makes other players better, I think.”
Asked if the initial £30m Arsenal paid Real Madrid to sign Odegaard permanently last summer was a bargain, Arteta added: “I don’t know, he’s still a bit early to tell.
“We were certainly convinced that he was a player who could fit into our clubs, into our morality. He has all the values that we want players to represent this club, and then he has the quality for what we want. do. We’re really happy with him.”
Thomas Partey also drew praise from Arteta after his star performance against the Foxes.
The Ghanaian international put Arsenal ahead with an 11th-minute header and, after hitting the corner of the post and bar with a shot, played a key role in the incident that led to the second-half penalty from which Alexandre Lacazette scored to seal the three points.
Arteta believes the 28-year-old midfielder – named Arsenal’s Player of the Month for the first time in February – is improving all the time.
“He almost scored on the shot, he had a great shot off the crossbar, he was involved in both goals – the header he scored and the penalty as well – and the reaction when he shot,” said added Arteta.
“You could see he was player of the month last month and he’s come a long way, he’s got the consistency and the minutes, he understands what we want a lot better.
“I think his cohesion and understanding with the rest of the players is getting better and better and now it’s about consistency and continuing to do that.”
Rodgers: Ramsdale England No 1
As composed as Arsenal, the Gunners were still indebted to another inspired performance from goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
The 23-year-old pulled off a superb first-half save to prevent Harvey Barnes leveling Leicester with a header, and Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers left no doubt that Ramsdale is currently the best goalkeeper in country’s goal.
“For me, he’s the best English goalkeeper at the moment,” Rodgers said. “He’s on top. His progression since coming to Arsenal, a huge club with different expectations of how to play football, but he’s handled that very well.
“He looks like he grew up at the club, he plays calm; he was jumping earlier in the season but now he has a real, nice calm to his game.
“He plays well with his feet, but he makes saves. His save from Barnesy was a great save – the header looked in – and kept Arsenal ahead.
“Having observed and watched the level of his game, he is the best English goalkeeper at the moment. It’s a huge credit to him, he looks like an exceptional goalkeeper.
“At the highest level you have to be comfortable with the ball as a goalkeeper, and he’s very good with his feet.”
Rodgers unhappy with Soyuncu sanction decision
For Arsenal’s second goal, Luke Thomas had seemingly saved the visitors 2-0 down when he hooked the ball over the line, but there was a VAR review for a handball from Caglar Soyuncu into the area which appeared to hinder Partey’s close combat. header before Thomas makes his clearance.
After a long check, the penalty was awarded and Lacazette fired the ball into the top corner to double his side’s lead, but Leicester boss Rodgers believes it was a tough decision.
“I think the time it took to get rewarded will probably tell you it was tough to be honest,” the Foxes manager said.
“I think Caglar’s move, it was a functional move, he obviously touches his hand but it was definitely not intentional and it was a huge disappointment for us in the game we were good in.”
“We’ve seen some decisions throughout the season, and that’s part of the luck that worked against us. It’s happened to us a few times throughout the season, but extremely frustrating.”
He added: “I think we’ve seen a lot of decisions – I’m not one to talk about the referees, I know it’s really hard work and I try to respect what they have to do, but there is a lot of inconsistency and some decisions of course end up costing you dearly.”