Former Arsenal midfielder Gilberto Silva has lavished praise on Martin Odegaard, but admits he’s like to see the Gunners’ captain take more chances in front of goal.
Odegaard has been one of the standout players in the Premier League this season, playing a key role in taking Arsenal from Champions League qualification hopefuls to potential title winners.
Arsenal are five points clear at the top of the table, although they’ve played two more games than rivals Manchester City, and face a make or break trip to the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night in a game that could decide the title race.
Speaking to Betway, former Brazilian midfielder Gilberto, who played a key role for Arsene Wenger during the 2003/04 Invincibles season, praised the impact of Odegaard in Arsenal’s midfield, but challenged the Norwegian and his teammates to take more risks in front of goal rather than trying to craft the perfect chance.
“He’s been brilliant. Odegaard has done so well,” Gilberto said. “It’s important now that he keeps driving himself and driving the others to achieve what they want this season.
“I would love to see him, and some of the other players, try more from outside the box. Sometimes they have a chance to shoot, and they don’t. It took so long for them to have a shot from outside the box against Southampton and, with his ability and quality, he got a goal. So, why not try more? In most games, you don’t have much chance to get close to the box and get inside the box to try and score. This can be a good option for the club, to try more from outside the box.
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“I understand that there is a lot of quality in the team, and they have the ability to go inside, but sometimes you have to try something different to surprise opponents when they don’t expect it.
There were also words of praise reserved for Granit Xhaka, with the Swiss midfielder now a fans’ favourite again after a turbulent spell almost saw his Emirates Stadium career come to an end amid a wave of negativity and bad feeling.
On the Swiss international, Gilberto said: “I’m very happy for him, honestly. There was a time I was thinking that maybe there’s not going to be space for Xhaka anymore, both in the team and among Arsenal fans, but with hard work he has gained back the trust of everybody.
“He’s performed so well and has been very helpful for the team, also showing up with his leadership. This is very important.”
On this edition of The Chronicles of a Gooner, part of the 90min podcast network, Harry Symeou is joined by Kolo Toure to preview Arsenal’s Premier League title decider with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!