Mikel Arteta told what could derail title bid - "They'd struggle to replace him"

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Mikel Arteta told what could derail title bid - "They
Mikel Arteta told what could derail title bid - "They'd struggle to replace him"

Danny Murphy believes Arsenal would "struggle to replace" captain Martin Odegaard if he suffered an injury during the run-in.

The Gunners are seven points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table and on course to win their first title in 19 years. There's still a long way to go, though, as they have to play Pep Guardiola's champions twice and fulfil 20 other fixtures.

Odegaard, 24, has played a key role in Arsenal's title charge, scoring seven goals and providing five assists in 15 Premier League outings. He was at his brilliant best during the 4-2 win against Brighton on New Year's Eve, as he picked up a goal and an assist.

Odegaard's brilliant showing on the south coast has left Murphy in no doubt that Arsenal will be in serious trouble if he becomes unavailable. He told Match of the Day: "I do think Odegaard is the one player they would struggle to replace. They've got other talented players but, for me, they would struggle to replace him."

Odegaard is one of the most intriguing players in the Premier League after a remarkable start to his career. The Norwegian was signed by Real Madrid shortly after his 16th birthday in January 2015 and was viewed as the next superstar of European football.

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However, he only played 11 games for Los Blancos and spent much of his time on the Spanish giants' books out on loan - featuring for Heerenveen, Vitesse and Real Sociedad - with critics fearing his talent was going to waste. He eventually found his way to Arsenal in January 2021.

Mikel Arteta told what could derail title bid - "They'd struggle to replace him"Martin Odegaard impressed during Arsenal's win against Brighton on New Year's Eve (GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

Do you think Martin Odegaard is irreplaceable? Let us know in the comments below!

After impressing during an initial six-month loan spell, the Gunners signed Odegaard on a permanent deal in August 2021. He soon established himself as one of Mikel Arteta's most trusted lieutenants and was handed the captain's armband at the beginning of this season.

Ex-Liverpool star Murphy isn't Odegaard's only fan. Ian Wright told Premier League Productions: "He has been fantastic all season, Martin Odegaard, and he is actually getting better as the season has been going and as the games get more and more pressurised."

It was Odegaard's assist for Gabriel Martinelli's goal on New Year's Eve that caught the eye. Paul Merson told Sky Sports: "Odegaard knows what he is doing before this ball comes he knows what he's doing and Martinelli knows what he is doing and he's away.

"That is Ronnie O'Sullivan in football. A lot of people don't see that pass, he is probably the only player on the pitch who sees that."

In terms of which players could replace Odegaard in Arsenal's attacking midfield role, central midfielder Fabio Vieira is capable of playing further forward. Another candidate is the highly rated Emile Smith Rowe, 22, who is nearing a return to fitness.

Smith Rowe, who is also capable of playing on the left wing, hasn't appeared since September after undergoing groin surgery. The England international is viewed as one of Arsenal's best young players and would be a suitable replacement for an injured Odegaard.

Tom Blow

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation