What Martin Odegaard did after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored Arsenal’s winner vs Benfica


Emotions were running high on what was a roller-coaster evening for Arsenal in the Europa League.

Following a 1-1 draw in the round of 32 first-leg tie against Benfica last week, the Gunners knew that a goalless draw would have been enough to see them qualify for the next stage by virtue of the away goals rule.

And things got better for Mikel Arteta‘s side midway through the first-half when Bukayo Saka slipped in captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to put Arsenal ahead for the first time in the tie.

However, the Gunners could not get to half-time with that lead intact.

Diogo Goncalves’ fantastic free-kick meant Arsenal had lost their away goals advantage and had to win the game on the night – or via penalties – in order to avoid being eliminated from the Europa League.

The latter appeared to be on the verge of becoming a reality when Dani Ceballos’ mistake was seized upon by Rafa Silva to round Bernd Leno and roll the ball into an empty net to give Benfica a 2-1 lead on the night and a 3-2 lead on aggregate.

That left Arsenal needing to score twice without response in order to qualify and Kieran Tierney levelled matters on the night with a well-taken effort for his second goal of the season.

But his side still needed another.

And it came in the 87th minute as Aubameyang made no mistake with Saka’s teasing cross to the back post, heading home to ensure Arsenal will be in the hat for Friday’s round of 16 draw.

(Image: BT Sport)

Such was the impact of Aubameyang’s goal that it affected on-loan midfielder Martin Odegaard.

As seen in the image above, the playmaker drops to his knees after seeing the ball hit the back of the net.

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It’s now four consecutive starts for Odegaard in Arsenal colours, but he still has some work to do before earning the trust of former Gunners defender Martin Keown who revealed his preference to see Emile Smith Rowe line up in the No.10 position instead of the Norway international.

“I wouldn’t (start him). For me, it’s almost another project, which we haven’t got time for,” Keown said on BT Sport ahead of kick-off. “We haven’t got time to do that, there’s no time to lose.

“You have to win games of football and he’s not ready yet, he’s demonstrated that.

“I think there’s a player in there somewhere underneath all of that, I think he’s got flashes of quality, but Smith Rowe now is ready to burst into that position.”





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