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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Darren Lewis

Martin Odegaard is ruthlessly honest about Arsenal's title battle with Man City

Calm heads, cool finishing and an Arsenal team with their feet on the ground.

Low-maintenance Martin Odegaard epitomises a club on a high right now but more than aware that there remains a long way to go. “It’s a long season,” said the Norwegian Gunners captain. “We’re just halfway through, there are many games to be played so we have to stay calm and humble.

“Our only focus is the next game and that’s all that matters. We have to stay focused.” The numbers are as impressive as the statement victories. Mikel Arteta’s side are now five points clear of second-placed City with a game in hand.

They’ve now scored in 18 of their last 19 Premier League games. In the absence of the injured Gabriel Jesus, no fewer than four players have stepped up to continue scoring goals.

Gabriel Martinelli now has seven in the top flight, Bukayo Saka 's sizzler on Sunday was also his seventh, Odegaard is leading by example with eight and Eddie Nketiah netted his third and fourth. Didn’t some critics fear he wouldn’t be good enough to deputise for Jesus?

Manchester City, winners of four of the last five Premier League titles, are their opponents next weekend in the FA Cup. Arsenal then host Brentford and City - impressive winners against Wolves on Sunday - in the top flight as the going starts to get even tougher.

But Odegaard maintains his side are focused only on themselves and the things they can control as they head past the halfway point of the campaign.

Will Arsenal win the Premier League title this season? Comment here

Martin Odegaard celebrates as Arsenal beat Manchester United (David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

“Honestly, we don’t care about City or any other team,” he added. “We expected them to win so that was not a big surprise. We just focused on our game. The way we beat Manchester United also gives us a special feeling that will help as well.”

No team with Arsenal’s points at this stage of the season has finished outside the top two. Even more intriguingly, Arsenal dropped more points in three games last season than they have done in 19 this year. Odegaard, however, is having none of the premature cheerleading.

“Last season we were improving all the time,” he went on. “The way we ended the season was a lot better than how we started it - we didn’t end it the way we wanted, with a Champions League spot.

“But we had progress during the season, we improved. This year, we have taken another step and that’s what you can see on the pitch.

“It’s way too far ahead to think about that now. We have to stay in the moment, everyone should enjoy the moment. We’re doing really well but we have to stay calm, it’s a long way to go and we have to keep working and improving. Then we’ll see.”

Fans are already seeing some eye-catching depth with the arrival of Leandro Trossard a late substitute and defender Jakub Kiwior in the stands ahead of his £17million move from Spezia to Arsenal.

“Yeah, we’re really happy,” Odegaard went on. “Trossard was great when he came on. He took the ball and made things happen, he contributed to the last goal as well.

“Quality players like Trossard will help the team. He can play many different positions and you saw his quality today straightaway. He will definitely help the team and we’re happy to have him on board, in the family.”

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