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Mikel Arteta must axe Martin Odegaard from Arsenal’s XI vs Palace

Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira returns to north London for the very first time as manager as the Gunners welcome Crystal Palace to the Emirates Stadium this evening.

And his Spanish counterpart in the home dugout, Mikel Arteta, has plenty of decisions to make heading into kickoff.

His side looked rather lacklustre and void of much creativity last time out when they drew 0-0 down on the south coast to Brighton and Hove Albion. It’s not all doom and gloom, though, as it extended their unbeaten run to five straight matches.

Arteta will want to continue that fine form here tonight but they will certainly need to improve in front of goal – the Seagulls registered a whopping 21 attempts compared to Arsenal’s eight, as per SofaScore.

The no.10 role is an interesting sticking point for the young head coach.

Who should start in the no.10 vs Palace?

ODEGAARD

ODEGAARD

SMITH ROWE

SMITH ROWE

Martin Odegaard was deployed there at the Amex but he struggled to have much of an influence on the game whatsoever. And after a pretty shocking display, he was hauled off in the 63rd minute.

The Gunners playmaker recorded only 29 touches, which was fewer than even goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale (43) and that’s the last thing you want from the main creative cog in your starting XI.

Elsewhere, he managed only 16 passes at a disappointing 76% accuracy rate and none of those passes were key chances, as per SofaScore.

Odegaard was also weak in possession, losing 60% of his midfield battles.

Instead, Arteta may want to opt for Emile Smith Rowe there, who recently excelled in the north London derby, scoring one goal and providing another.

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WHO IS THE PLAYER?

As a result, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could move out wide, with Alexandre Lacazette taking a place up top, or there are more natural wingers in Gabriel Martinelli and Nicolas Pepe too.

The £36m-rated Norway maestro was once described as a “phenomenon” by journalist Lars Sivertsen to The Athletic, but one goal and one assist across six appearances is far from that sort of standard right now.

Arteta must be bold and ruthless by axing Odegaard from his starting XI tonight.

AND in other news, Cost nothing, now worth £60m: Arteta has struck gold with Arsenal’s “difference maker”

Article title: Mikel Arteta must axe Martin Odegaard from Arsenal’s XI vs Palace

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