“We had to be smart today” – Martin Odegaard reacts to Arsenal’s massive win over Newcastle

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Martin Odegaard says that Arsenal had to show their ugly side at times during their huge 2-0 win over Newcastle at St. James’ Park today.

Odegaard and Arsenal knew that a win over the Magpies would send them to within a point of Manchester City and a victory was exactly what they got, although they were made to work for it.

Newcastle had a penalty appeal overturned by VAR early in the match when a ball into the box was adjudged to have hit Jakub Kiwior on the thigh before it struck his arm, a decision which could have easily thrown the Gunners, but they held their nerve as captain Odegaard rifled a shot in from distance a few minutes after VAR’s intervention to give his team a crucial lead.

A feisty encounter between the two sides made for great viewing, as players from both sides came to loggerheads multiple times but Arsenal maintained their concentration to double their lead when a Gabriel Martinelli cutback from the byline was poked into the net by Fabian Schar for an own goal twenty minutes from time.

Schar’s unfortunate own goal ensured Arsenal went back to London with all three points

Post-match to Sky Sports (via BBC Sport), Odegaard admitted it was a tough battle for his side.

We showed something special here today. To come here and win is not easy. We had to be very smart and to be ugly at times.

It is a big step for a young team like ours to come here and do the things we did. It shows we have come a long way.”

This fixture last season was the one that saw Arsenal lose their place in the top four, and the Norwegian came clean to say the match was one of his worst days as a player.

Last year here was one of the toughest days of my career, to be honest. But now, after dropping points against Man City, to win against Chelsea and then come here and win shows the mentality.

Odegaard scored Arsenal’s opener for his third goal in two games

We have to keep going and digging in and fight until the end. It is football, anything can happen and we need to be ready.”

Mikel Arteta’s side have three games left to keep the pressure on City, who will need to be very careful that they don’t drop any more points to ensure they don’t cede their place at the summit of the table to the Gunners.

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