BBC pundit Garth Crooks lavishes praise on ‘first-class’ Arsenal player after win over Spurs

BBC pundit Garth Crooks was full of praise for Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard for the midfielder’s performance in the side’s 2-0 win over arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday (15 January). The Gunners secured their first victory away from home in the north London derby since 2015 during the game.

Odegaard, 24, played a starring role in the win, continuing the impressive form he has been in throughout this season. He scored his side’s second in the 36th minute, firing a left-footed stunner past Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

The goal took his tally for the season to eight goals and five assists in 23 games across competitions. The Norweigan has been instrumental in Arsenal’s pursuit of their first Premier League title since 2004.

Crooks praised Odegaard’s display against Spurs and heralded the midfielder’s development at the Emirates Stadium. He said (via BBC Sport):

“I have been singing the praises of Martin Odegaard for quite some time this season. I have also watched him grow into a first-class player and lead Arsenal to the top of the Premier League. His performance against Spurs was another display of the highest quality.”

The former Spurs forward then commented on the goal, questioning Lloris’ goalkeeping but still praising the effort:

“His goal was well struck and put the game well beyond Tottenham’s capabilities. That said, you would expect a decent goalkeeper to save a shot hit from that distance but Hugo Lloris has not been decent for some considerable time.”

Arsenal are top of the Premier League table and hold an eight-point lead over second-placed Manchester City after 18 games. Next up for the Gunners is the visit of fourth-placed Manchester United on Sunday (January 22).

Arsenal are confident of beating Chelsea to the signing of West Ham United captain Declan Rice

Declan Rice is a top target for Arsenal this summer.
Declan Rice is a top target for Arsenal this summer.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta seems keen to bolster his options in midfield and has set his sights on signing West Ham’s Rice. The English midfielder has been the Hammers’ protagonist for several years after rising through the youth ranks.

He left Chelsea aged 14 when the Blues released him. There has always been a feeling that he may return to Stamford Bridge. However, according to the Times, the Gunners have identified the 24-year-old as a priority signing. Moreover, they are confident of beating their London rivals to his signature.

Rice has scored one goal and provided three assists in 25 appearances across competitions. His exploits for the Hammers last season drew acclaim as he led the side to the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League. He featured 50 times in all competitions, scoring five goals and providing four assists.

His contract with West Ham expires in 2024, but he is expected to be the subject of bids this summer. The midfielder is thought to be valued at around £80 million.

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