Premier League hits and misses: Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard the best midfielder in the Premier League right now | football news

Odegaard is the best midfielder in the Premier League right now

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Free to watch: Highlights from Arsenal’s win against Fulham

Right now Martin Odegaard is at number one. Normally you would say that Kevin De Bruyne is the best midfield player not only in the Premier League but in the world. Something’s not right, he’s not playing as many games as he’d like. But Odegaard does the thing that all great players have: It’s like time stops when he has the ball.

most of the players, especially the midfield players, because we are not used to being involved in [scoring] situations, the peace he has. He has scored four or five goals like he did against Fulham, left footed. He is the captain, he is the leader. He is leading that team. When he doesn’t have the ball, he goes and presses it and he takes the catch.
Jamie Redknapp

He is a different player than De Bruyne but he always has a solution. When he gets into a tight spot, he finds the right solution and very calmly. He doesn’t have as many assists as De Bruyne because he’s not that type of player. But the other things that he does, he’s doing them with such grace and so well. It is a pleasure to see him.
jimmy floyd hasselbank

Trossard is showing his worth at Arsenal

Leandro Trossard starred against Fulham
Leandro Trossard starred against Fulham

There was no period more than 10 seconds into the second half at Craven Cottage, which was epitomized by Leandro Trossard’s performance. It began with him running backwards to make a tackle and stop a counter, and ended with him running forward with the ball at his feet.

The Belgian started the game as Arsenal’s false nine but was virtually everywhere, his intensity and energy setting the tone for an outstanding team performance in and out of possession.

He was involved in more or less every Arsenal attack before his 78th-minute withdrawal and contributed directly to each of the three goals, registering a hat-trick of assists and claiming the player-of-the-match award.

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Mikel Arteta reflects on Arsenal’s win at Fulham

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In the space of around 25 minutes, he scored more goals than any other Premier League player in the two months since his Arsenal debut. Overall, he has provided five assists since his move to Brighton and scored an own goal against Brentford.

His impact is exactly what Arsenal were hoping for when they paid £27m to sign him in January and in that context it is easy to forget that he was not their first choice. Right now, it seems like a blessing that Chelsea let him beat Mykhailo Mudrik.

This game was supposed to be Gabriel Jesus’ return to the team for the first time since November following a knee injury. Instead, it was a reminder that Trossard would not give up his position easily. The 28-year-old is showing his ability.
nick wright

Casemiro Red To See The Return Of ‘McFred’?

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Free to watch: Highlights of the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton

Casemiro’s sending-off in a goalless draw against Southampton has given Manchester United boss Erik ten Haag a real midfield headache.

Injuries to fellow midfielders Christian Eriksen, Marcel Sabitzer and Donny van de Beek would miss Brazil’s next four home games.

Stats 12 March 2023

Bruno Fernandes started in central midfield alongside Casemiro against St. Louis, but the Portugal international struggled in a deeper role as he lost possession 28 times – the most of any player in the match.

It is a performance that will leave Ten Haag unconvinced that Fernandes can operate efficiently in a midfield two.

Scott McTominay was preferred ahead of Fred in Casemiro’s absence as Ten Haag brought on Scott just before half-time – and he did well.

McTominay notched the most doubles (10) of any United player, and also made four tackles and four clearances – no United player made more.

So could Ten Haag be forced to restore the ‘McFred’ midfield partnership now?

Fred and Scott McTominay
Fred and Scott McTomin could form midfield pairing in Casemiro’s absence

The Dutchman said he would “consider overnight” how to play without Casemiro for the FA Cup quarter-final against Fulham and the Premier League matches against Newcastle (A), Brentford (H) and Everton (H).

Whichever side he goes with, it will be a huge test for a side that has relied heavily on the experienced 31-year-old this season.

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United have a 43 per cent win rate in the seven matches they have played without him, compared to a 76 per cent win rate in the 37 matches he has played.

His absence at a time of campaign crisis is costly.

‘Competitive’ Watkins fighting to join elite

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Free to watch: Highlights of the Premier League match between West Ham and Aston Villa

Aston Villa head coach Unai Emery asked his striker to stay on the shoulder of the last defender with Ollie Watkins at the start of the first half at the London Stadium.

The advice soon paid dividends as Watkins found a place between West Ham’s central defenders to head Villa at his first sight of goal.

Emery is working on these nice margins to take Watkins to the next level. “He’s very competitive,” Emery said after the game. “He’s trying to learn and put in the extra work every day. It’s a good feeling to be improving.”

Since the World Cup, only Marcus Rashford (10), Erling Haaland (10) and Harry Kane (8) have scored more than his seven Premier League goals. The Spaniard is making a difference.

Watkins has the basic qualities to excel as a lone striker in the Premier League. To challenge with the elite, however, there had to be a marginal advantage. That’s where emery comes in.

“Sometimes I’m demanding with him, trying to improve in small spaces to move better and be more efficient with my movement and contact with the ball.”

But there’s also a big drive on the part of Watkins himself. “He’s demanding and critical of himself and does a lot of listening,” Emery said. The 27-year-old is looking to push himself to get into that top bracket.
Ginny Boswell

Is there a changing of the guard at Newcastle?

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Free to watch: Highlights of the Premier League match between Newcastle and Wolves

There was a moment just after half-time when Alexander Isaacs put pressure on the Wolves defense and St James’ Park roared when he forced the visitors to go back on a goal-kick.

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It summed up the Newcastle striker’s performance. Isaac protected the Wolves five times, completing more than half of those take-ons and ending with a goal in more than half of his first half that gave the Magpies the lead.

Alexander Isaac of Newcastle United celebrates after scoring his team's first goal
Alexander Isaac celebrates after scoring Newcastle’s first goal

That header was his third goal in his last five Premier League home games and it certainly looks like there could be a change of guard in terms of the Newcastle No. 9’s position.

Callum Wilson has been a good servant for Newcastle over the years, but his run of one goal in his last 10 league games coincided with his 31st birthday a few weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Isaac is only getting stronger. Eddie Howe said after the game that: “Isaac is fit to play 90 minutes for any other team – but not my style of play and what I demand.”

So when the Swedish striker gains momentum, he will be very difficult to stop.

Pope’s form deteriorates at the worst possible time

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‘I think he is very, very lucky’ – Pope avoids red after VAR review

This season has been the closest any other English goalkeeper has come to displacing Jordan Pickford as the country’s No. 1 goalkeeper.

It is not the fault of the Everton goalkeeper. Pickford remains a solid shot stopper and progressive passer in the Toffee side this season.

But Nick Pope’s performances at the start of the campaign made him the league’s most in-form goalkeeper and Pickford would not have complained if he was dropped for a few games in his March internationals.

Yet in his last two home games for Newcastle, Pope has received one red card and was lucky to avoid another. His sluggish touch allowed Raul Jimenez to go through and another referee sent him off for a clumsy clash with the Wolves striker.

It came at the end of a week when Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale impressed by keeping clean sheets for Everton and Arsenal. Since the start of February, Pope has been arguably England’s third best goalkeeper at best.

Gareth Southgate picked his first England squad since the World Cup on Thursday and Pope looks out of the picture in the goalkeeping department.

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