Arsenal’s morale-sapping draw against West Ham feels more like a crushing defeat. In what was supposed to be a bounce-back game after their visit to Anfield, the players once again threw away a 2-0 lead, salvaging only a single point from their London rivals.
From being eight points clear not too long ago, Arsenal have now conceded the dominant position in the title race to Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s men would have needed little encouragement to maintain or even improve their performances but their challengers’ missteps in recent weeks signal a change in dynamic.
After a brilliant opening 30 minutes, Arsenal lost control and barely regained it at the end of the game. Multiple players underperformed, faltering when mammoth showings were needed. A few, however, can hold their heads high. Here are three standout players from a crushing draw against West Ham
3 standout players from crushing draw against West Ham
1. Martin Odegaard
Odegaard is no stranger to this fixture. It was in this same matchup two years ago when the skipper really announced himself to a Premier League audience, dragging Arsenal to a 3-3 draw at the London Stadium. On Sunday, he had more of a mixed performance.
The opening period saw Odegaard at his best. Slipping into pockets between the lines, he moved the ball quickly and accurately against the West Ham low block. His quick feet and technical quality were crucial to helping Arsenal maintain constant pressure.
He was influential in the first goal, sliding in a delicately placed ball to Ben White who crossed it before Gabriel Jesus poked home. Odegaard scored the second himself, running off the shoulder of the West Ham defenders before volleying into the back of the net. The finish was nothing short of exquisite.
As the match continued and control began to slip, Odegaard found himself isolated up the pitch. The later periods did see him get on the ball more but West Ham deployed all 11 players behind the ball, restricting the midfielder to moving the ball side to side.
Odegaard showed the willingness to get on the ball and take responsibility. Moving forward, he must combine this leadership with more quality on the pitch. When in form, the Norwegian is unplayable. He must exert his influence more in the rest of the games this season.
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