Big differences between Arsenal and Norway

Big differences between Arsenal and Norway

The figures show that Martin Odegaard has significantly fewer touches of the ball in the opposition penalty area when he plays for the national team.

In fact, he has more than twice as many touches of the ball in the opposition penalty area when playing for Arsenal.

Why is he like that?

– There could be several reasons. I would like to be able to play for the national team as well. It's where I want to be most and where things happen, Odegaard responds when VG confronts him with statistics.

Statistics show that Arsenal's Martin Odegaard is in the English Premier League this season compared to Norway's Martin Odegaard in the European Championship qualifiers. Sofascore gets its numbers from statistics service Opta. Photo: Sova Score

National team manager Stahl Solbakken says he would like to see Odegaard more often in shooting positions, but points out:

– Martin has created the most chances – or been involved in them – out of everyone in previous European Championship qualifiers, regardless of group, which suggests he is very close to the goal, Ståle Solbakken answers VG's question.

Stahl Solbakken
<-Stahl Solbakken

Norway national team coach

Solbakken referred to Ødegaard's statistics several times. But is this true, really?

Commissioned by VG has Sofa grade I took a look at the numbers from the statistics service Opta:

  • In seven qualifying matches for the European Championship, the Norway captain has left his mark one goal And One pass to score goals.
  • Martin Odegaard created two goals Great opportunities In seven matches, both in the first leg against Cyprus. It is ranked 62nd.
  • In addition, his average was one Key installation For every match. Four of the seven key passes came in the first leg against Cyprus. 150 players made multiple passes that resulted in a shot during the European Championship qualifiers.
  • In three matches against Scotland and Spain (home and away), Odegaard has registered just one key pass in 270 minutes.
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Odegaard points to several possible explanations for why he is not involved in the opposition penalty area when playing for Norway.

He mentioned, among other things, his image in the match, his starting position, and that he needs to be more involved in the constructive game.

-It's about getting high enough. It's about being at the right height, getting into the box and being dangerous there. There are small adjustments I can make to be more serious.

Experts are clear that Odegaard's challenge lies with his team-mates.

– At Arsenal, he can stand at a comfortable heart rate in the right positions and use his energy to look around, orient himself and prepare for the next step because he knows the ball is coming, says Christopher Luckberg.

– He may be unconscious, but he does not trust his teammates to the same extent and in their ability to carry the ball to him in dangerous areas. To engage in combat, he can often end up too wide or too low.

Christopher Lockberg
<-Christopher Lockberg

Vikings player and NRK national team expert.

TV 2 expert Simen Stamsø Müller has no doubt that a big part of the problem lies in the midfielders' lack of skill on the ball.

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-Everything is connected. I am completely convinced of that. Things go very smoothly when Arsenal are forced to attack the ground from the back. He contributes what is most important and what he is best at. It doesn't do that often for Norway, Stamsø Møller tells VG.

– We were not good enough in the constructive match. I saw signs of improvement against the Czech Republic with two midfielders. Then things went much better because the midfielders didn't have to take responsibility. It was better when Patrik Berge and Sander Berge were involved so that Leo Skerry Østegaard and Andreas Hansch-Olsen did not become playmakers.

Simin Stamso Müller
<-Simin Stamso Müller

Football expert on TV 2.

Faced with the impression that goalkeepers are unable to play good passes through the joints, the national team manager responded:

-You're missing out a lot then! Do you have any statistical evidence for this? asks Solbakken for VG.

The answer to this question is partly “yes”:

  • Admittedly, the numbers don't show how many passes go through the opposition's knuckles, but during the entire UEFA qualifiers, Norway only had two. Key passes From the heart of defence.
  • Only the defenders of San Marino (one), Gibraltar and Albania (zero) received fewer key passes than the Norwegian centre-backs.

In the face of these numbers, Solbakin answers:

-I think I should arrest you for that. We can figure it out together then. Stefan Strandberg is in the top four at playing through the joints as a centre-back, says Solbakken.

Discussion: On the training field after the press conference, the pause discussion continued between national team manager Stahl Solbakken and a VG reporter. Photo: Bjorn S. Dilipik/VG

The statistic Ståle Solbakken is probably referring to is 'passes forward up the pitch'.

Before the final two qualifying matches against Spain and Scotland, where Stefan Strandberg did not play, only Switzerland goalkeeper Manuel Akanji (238) had more forward passes than Stefan Strandberg (231).

However, this same statistic says nothing about whether passes go through the knuckles or not, just that they move forward up the field.

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But while Norway only had two key passes from the knockdown during the entire qualifier, Akanji alone was responsible for six key passes for Switzerland.

In the English Premier League, Akanji's team, Manchester City, tops the statistics. City's midfielders average 2.02 key passes per game.

– Odegaard has significantly fewer touches in the penalty area with Norway than with Arsenal, less than half. Couldn't it have something to do with the fact that he has to go deeper because you are unable to give him the ball near the goal?

– We are working on it a little bit, but Arsenal is very dominant and is probably the best team at exactly that. We would like Martin to be in scoring positions more often. “I agree with that. But I think Patrick and Sander were good at handling it,” Solbakken tells VG.

The statistics show the attacking stats of the Norwegian centre-backs in the EU qualifiers. Photo: Sova Score

in Special international match on Tuesday Against Slovakia, Kristofer Vasbaek Ajer and Leo Skerry Østegaard form Norway's top-two duo, confirms Solbakken TV 2.

– I think that Ajer probably has his greatest strength as a center back in bringing the ball forward. Hanshi has potential to improve there, while Liu is getting better and better. You can't get the ball we have into the opposition half if you don't get the ball forward at the right time, and I think we've made a lot of progress there.

What does Odegaard himself think about the importance of the goalkeeper’s role in getting the ball to him in good positions?

– This is also part of it. It's a big picture. We are a team and the team must work to get the best from everyone. Then I have to try to find my role, and then everyone has to do their part. The national team captain says: There are small adjustments I can make.

Najuma Ojukwu

Najuma Ojukwu

"Infuriatingly humble internet trailblazer. Twitter buff. Beer nerd. Bacon scholar. Coffee practitioner."

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