Darren Bent says 25-year-old Arsenal player does lack pace but he’s so smart

Tuesday night saw Arsenal do something they haven’t done for the last 14 years, and that was to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a win over Porto after a penalty shootout.

Martin Odegaard was key to the win. The 25-year-old laid on a perfect assist to draw the tie level, as Leandro Trossard scored for the Gunners. He scored Arsenal’s first goal in the penalty shootout.

Rio Ferdinand described him as the “ultimate technician” after the game, while Darren Bent even said that he could go on to replace Kevin De Bruyne at Manchester City – the Norwegian is that good.

Plenty of plaudits coming in for Odegaard, then. A top, top player. But, does he have any weaknesses? Bent was posed with that question on TalkSPORT (13/03, 5.10PM), citing Odegaard’s lack of strength.

“He’s not the quickest, his strength – he can get pushed off the ball. But he gets his body position into a place where players rarely get the ball off him. He’s so clever, so intelligent,” Bent said, after the win.


Darren Bent identifies Arsenal man Martin Odegaard’s flaws
Odegaard’s flaws, though, are counteracted by his speed of thought, his footballing intelligence. Much like a Santi Cazorla, a Cesc Fabregas, an Andres Iniesta – their intelligence outweighs need for speed.

Or strength. To lack those key attributed but remain Arsenal’s attacking heartbeat shows just how good Odegaard’s brain is. If Arsenal are to do anything this season, maybe a league title, he will be pivotal.

The high of beating Porto on penalties must switch to focus immediately as Arsenal take on Man City on the weekend in a crucial match in the race for the title. Arsenal need a result to maintain their push.


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