Arsenal reporter Charles Watts has labelled Martin Odegaard as the club’s ‘surprise package’ so far this season, with the Norwegian currently the team’s leading goalscorer.
The playmaker was named the Gunners’ new captain this summer and has seemingly added to his game considerably.
Odegaard has been available for all but one of the club’s 14 Premier League fixtures this term, scoring six goals as well as creating another two.
It’s a tally that leaves him top of the scoring charts at the Emirates Stadium – much to the shock and delight of Watts.
Speaking on his YouTube channel about his mid-season awards, the journalist said: “Surprise package – now, I’ve gone for Martin Odegaard with this one, and I’m sure plenty of you might be a little bit surprised at that choice.
“But I haven’t picked him as my surprise package because of his performances or anything like that, because look, we all know Martin Odegaard’s a fantastic footballer – we’ve seen that since he first arrived at Arsenal on loan and then since he arrived permanently last season.
“But the fact he’s Arsenal’s top goalscorer at the moment – and that is the biggest surprise package, for me, that Martin Odegaard, a player who we’ve all said needs to add more goals to his game, he’s got everything else, but he needs to score more goals, he needs to pop up in the final third and take advantage of the position he gets himself in. And he’s done that, he’s Arsenal’s top goalscorer.
“I don’t think anyone at the start of the season would have predicted that, right now, Odegaard would be above Saka, Martinelli, Jesus as Arsenal’s top scorer, so I think he has to go down as the surprise package, for me.”
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The 23-year-old has led by example in north London this term, with only Gabriel Jesus (7.59) averaging a higher match rating than the midfielder (7.42) among players who have started a game, according to WhoScored.
The former Real Madrid man ranks fourth at the club for dribbles per 90 minutes, third for shots per game and second for key passes per 90, highlighting his influence on the team in attacking areas.
It is perhaps unlikely that the £52.5m-rated star will finish the season as the club’s top scorer, but it is certainly surprising to see him leading the way at this juncture given the names that are in the Arsenal dressing room.