Some Arsenal fans have been left fuming with the side’s lack of intent and positive play in the first-half of today’s marquee Premier League encounter against Manchester City.
Lots of Gooners have worryingly noticed that members of the team are ‘ignoring’ Martin Odegaard, the side’s second loan signing from Real Madrid who arrived in the January transfer window.
The tie got off to a nightmare start when shaky defending involving Kieran Tierney and Rob Holding left 5ft7 Raheem Sterling free to score a header from inside the six-yard box.
Pep Guardiola’s men unsurprisingly dominated the possession with a 58% share of the ball in the opening period, but the Gunners haven’t really had their backs against the walls entirely.
Mikel Arteta’s men grew into the tie, looking much better in the final stages of the first-half, but the Gunners simply showed far too little intent to create and be positive with the ball.
Spades of their supporters noticed that playmaker Odegaard was being ignored, especially by the likes of Mohamed Elneny and Hector Bellerin. Arsenal will struggle to level if the Norwegian isn’t lively.
See More: Arsenal trigger payment of seven-figure transfer bonus with star’s start against Manchester City
Here’s what some of the Arsenal faithful made of the side’s first-half display:
Everyone’s ignoring odegaard ????
— XG Football (@ESR_First_Touch) February 21, 2021
Please tell our lads to pass the ball to Odegaard, he’s in our team as well.
— ??™ (@GargantuanFC) February 21, 2021
someone inform elneny that saka ødegaard pepe and auba are playing
— W’s Only (@arsenalfan21719) February 21, 2021
3 things certain in life
Bellerin ignoring anyone who wants the ball
— GoonerNick (@nickvann1987__) February 21, 2021
It’s like Elneny & Xhaka are taking turns ignoring Ødegaard, Pépé has worked hard but his decision making isn’t quick enough, Aubameyang blocking Saka’s shot is the most impact he’s had all game, Holding should never be losing headers to Sterling. Ceballos & Martinelli needed!
— KING? (@_IKENNA_) February 21, 2021
Pass the ball to Odegaard u mugs
— OnlyPain (@afcKZ_) February 21, 2021
Elneny you can pass forward you won’t die
— Mason (@afcmason3) February 21, 2021
Bin Elneny and Bellerin at half time.
They’re not offering anything defensively, positioning is shambolic and every single potentiality positive move he takes 5 extra touches and inevitably plays it backwards because the momentum is dead, mainly because of them.
— Jay ???? (@Yurt1992) February 21, 2021
Please sub off Elneny never seen a guy so negative and uninterested in progressing the ball.
— Jack (@jackb1248) February 21, 2021
terminate bellerins contract
— Tom ?? (@afctomm_) February 21, 2021
It appears as though the first-half displays of Bellerin and Elneny particularly sparked fury. That’s somewhat a harsh review of the former’s action in the opening period.
On the Elneny front, the Egyptian was drafted into the lineup with Arteta clearly keen to be more defensively stable against his clinical former employers, creativity is not part of the star’s game though.