Well OF COURSE Martin Odegaard got player of the season for The Arsenal!
I even said it on social media back in August. I said I thought he would ‘Bang!’ and my, didn’t he just do that for us last season.
I love the way he plays football. I love his tight and close control, I love the way he is able to shift weight direction on his feet from one side to the other to quickly turn and create space, I love his passing range, I love his movement and how he meshes our creative play together. But he’s also added goals this season. 15 in total for him and it was this amongst other things that saw us take such brilliant strides forward in the way we play, how well we played, as well as how good we looked at times. When we were at our best last season, he was the man who was pulling the strings.
I also love his personality too. He’s an exemplary captain. He leads buy example. He isn’t one of these chest thumping, roaring, angry at the world Roy Keane style captains. He is thoughtful, he is a leader with what he does on the pitch and I think he is also an ambassador for the club too. It’s a small thing, but when Auba was made captain the match day programme suddenly did away with captain’s programme notes. Why? We have a long history of that going back to the first time I ever set foot in Highbury, yet suddenly it stopped. As a man who wants to make sure the traditions of the club are upheld, I’d imagine that Arteta was probably a little bit cheesed off with that. But when Odegaard officially became captain, back came the programme notes and he’s the sort of guy that you’d imagine actually takes the time to write them, rather than saying some words to an editor to turn them in to some kind of spin.
I couldn’t be happier for him and I am pleased he won it. I think a lot of people probably would have thought that Saka might get it and I’m sure it was a close run thing (although I haven’t bothered to check if the percentages are actually published by the club), but for me it should always have been Odegaard. Captain fantastic.
But as well as that, isn’t it nice that it is such a close run thing? Isn’t it nice that there are a few players who could have got the award? Ramsdale has been super this season. Ben White has been one of the best right backs in the league. Saliba has been revolutionary. Big Gabbby has stepped up to be a rock at the back and Zinchenko changed the way we were tactically set up. Granit Xhaka showed us that he was capable of playing a totally different position to the one we’d gotten used to seeing him in and as a result he even had his own song sung loudly (although I know that started at the end of last season, to be fair). But Martinelli also showed us how much he’s kicked on too. I’ve practically named the whole team of players who have massively kicked on and are the reason why we should all be very excited for the prospect of next season.
I really hope we do kick on next season. I am already seeing so many ‘pundits’ saying we’ll never get that close to Man City again, we’ll never have another season like that, etc, etc. I despised that Gary Neville and those of his ilk got to play the ‘I told you so’ card at the end of the season and I am keeping everything crossed that we get our targets, that we’re ready to rock for the new season and that we pick up from where we left off but from before that last international break. If we can do that and get a few early wins under our belts, that would be amazing. But maybe we don’t want anybody to rate us. Nobody did last season and look how far we came. Look how well we played for most of it and everyone kept writing us off. Let’s have that again please. Only this time let’s go the distance.
We are going to have to make additions though and this is the time of the year when those additions happen. We all know the names, but how many of us have thought Kai Havertz could be one of them? Not me. And not for me, either. He’s a decent enough player, had a difficult season and sure, he’s still young enough to have an impact for a number of years. But nine goals isn’t exactly ground-breaking and his shooting isn’t amazing, nor is his accuracy I don’t think. The type of position he plays for Chelsea as well hardly fills me with any excitement. He’s not an out-and-out goalscorer, he likes to play as a false nine or drop in, so why are we interested? We have Gabby Jesus who is a better footballer so I hope this is a transfer rumour which quickly dies its death. Let’s focus on players who will move us up a notch or two, not have us stepping sideways.
Other than that there isn’t really a lot more going on today it seems. There is the Champions League Final this evening which I may or may not watch; it’s going to be a scorcher of a day in London and so unless I can fire up the laptop outside, I don’t see myself losing out on some wonderful sunshine by watching an Italian side that are a bit old and ‘meh’, versus a financially doped City side who really don’t interest me in the slightest. Might have it on in the background but we’ll see.
Right, off to do some shopping, so you have yourself a merry little Saturday.