Martin Odegaard’s angry reaction during Arsenal’s massive win against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Thursday evening proved a turning point and will give Mikel Arteta a tough decision in the summer.
Arsenal were chasing an equaliser midway through the second half when Alexandre Lacazette was provided with an excellent chance which he missed after Gabriel Martinelli flashed the ball across the box.
Odegaard wanted Lacazette to lay the ball off to him but the Frenchman instead attempted a shot that flew over the crossbar and that had led to the Norwegian throwing his hands in disappointment and anger.
It was at this moment where Lacazette’s performance turned slightly, he won the ball back in an angry clash deep in the Arsenal half and with the miss probably still playing on his mind, gestured to the crowd to try and drum up some much-needed atmosphere.
Overall, it was a disappointing performance in general by Lacazette despite his crucial involvement in the winning goal, which unfortunately for him, further highlights the need for Arteta to sign a striker ahead of next season.
Lacazette had won the admiration from the Arsenal fans this season due to his hard work and link-up play to ignite the attack, but was a shadow of his usual self against Wolves for the vast majority of the game.
He was the focal point of many attacks, but couldn’t seem to make a breakthrough until his dramatic winner, which gives Arsenal a major push in their hopes for Champions League qualification.
Odegaard was the orchestrator for many of the Arsenal attempts at goal against Wolves and was a standout player in what was an underwhelming performance from Arteta’s side.
Nicolas Pepe’s excellent equaliser off the bench late into the second half saved a point for the Gunners and eased the tension for Lacazette who was beginning to come under scrutiny by the crowd and Odegaard himself.
Arteta and Edu had been criticised for not strengthening in the January window, and more specifically the striker position as all pressure had been put onto Lacazette to score goals, and lead the line in the push for a Champions League place after the sale of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Arsenal.
However, since the winter window slammed shut, Lacazette’s performances have been disappointing, which was shown by Odegaard’s reaction after the Frenchman’s poor decision-making against Wolves.
The Frenchman’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season, meaning a decision needs to be made by the Arsenal hierarchy whether they offer the 30-year-old a new contract or not.
And it seems he could depart from the club after reported interest from his former club Lyon.
Lacazette’s exit seems even more likely after the recent comments made by Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, as he said via Metro: “We’ll do our best to sign Alexandre Lacazette in June. We’ve always remained in contact with him.”
Odegaard’s reaction after Lacazette’s blunder against Wolves was very telling, firstly in how Arsenal’s players felt during those first 95 minutes and secondly, making clear the size of the gamble Arsenal have made pinning their entire hopes on the Frenchman.
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