Mikel Arteta has admitted Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard is “in pain” and “will be assessed” after coming off injured late on in the Gunners’ 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Wednesday night. The Norwegian was on the receiving end of a strong challenge from Villa midfielder John McGinn which Arteta labelled “harsh”.
Gabriel Jesus put Arsenal 1-0 up on the night with half an hour gone, pouncing to steer home after ex-Gunner Emiliano Martinez inexplicably spilled Granit Xhaka’s driven cross. Arteta’s side were then nearly made to pay for their failure to kill the game off as Douglas Luiz curled in the equaliser directly from a corner with just 15 minutes to play.
Gabriel Martinelli then hit back immediately, volleying home Bukayo Saka’s cross to ensure Arsenal maintain their perfect start to the Premier League season with a fifth win from five. However, it was far from a perfect night as influential captain Odegaard hobbled off with just over 10 minutes remaining.
The midfielder was on the receiving end of a robust challenge from McGinn – one of a number of rough challenges Villa’s players seemed to commit across a fiery and hard-fought 90 minutes at the Emirates. Speaking after his side’s dogged 2-1 win over Villa, Arteta admitted Odegaard was “in pain” following the “harsh” challenge, casting doubts over whether the Arsenal skipper, who has already contributed three goals this season, will be fit enough for his side’s trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United at the weekend.
Offering an update on Odegaard’s condition, Arteta said: “He was in pain. Let’s assess him, but he had a little bit of pain on his leg because of that harsh challenge.”
Despite Aston Villa’s aggressive and antagonistic game plan, Arsenal gave as good as they got while continuing to hold their nerve and play the slick, attacking football Arteta’s side are becoming accustomed to producing. In his post-match interview, the Gunners boss praised his side for their improved resilience this season.
“It could have been very different tonight, but obviously when the game turns in that way, you have to have the tools, the character, the resilience to respond to that,” Arteta said. “And I think the team did it.”