In Focus: Odegaard influence is key to unlocking Gunners' title bid
Martin Odegaard is growing more influential for Arsenal with each passing week.
The Norwegian midfielder was exceptional in the Gunners' previous outing as they beat Manchester United on home soil before the international break.
And he is undoubtedly key to the North Londoners' hopes of challenging Manchester City at the Premier League's summit for a second successive season.
Ahead of today's clash with Everton, we take a look at Odegaard's importance to Mikel Arteta's team.
With two goals to his name in four league games — including a sweeping finish to level the score against United — it has been a strong start to the season for Odegaard.
Ahead of this weekend's fixtures, only five players in the division had taken more shots than the Arsenal captain (14) and he ranked fourth in the league for completed passes into the final third (86).
After scoring 15 top-flight goals last term, Arsenal's No8 looks on course for another similarly productive campaign.
Odegaard also plays an important role as a leader, becoming Arsenal's skipper last season at the relatively tender age of 23.
A year on, he is playing with a level of experience and maturity that belies his youth.
Arteta has clearly been happy with the former Real Madrid star's impact — both on and off the pitch.
He said: "He [Odegaard] has a character that everybody respects, everybody admires and everybody follows.
"He does it in his own way. There are many ways to lead a team and he has a unique one. We don't want to take anything from that."
Aside from his attacking ability and his leadership qualities, Odegaard has proved equally capable of playing an important role when his team are defending.
No Arsenal player has won possession more times in the defensive third (10) and he ranks third in the team for total tackles (nine).
After arriving at the Emirates in 2021 as an out-and-out creative midfielder, Odegaard has developed his all-round game impressively under Arteta.
Odegaard has earned the admiration of his team-mates too, with Bukayo Saka dishing out praise in May.
He said: "He's a fantastic leader, he has been all season.
"He's been leading by example, on and off the pitch. Hopefully he can continue this form."
Former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas has also been impressed.
He said: "He [Odegaard] is always available, he's intelligent. He works hard off the ball, he knows when to come into midfield and help his team-mates, when to push forward and create chances for the team.
"I like his attitude overall, he's intelligent and from what I've heard he has humility as well to always learn and do well."
If Odegaard continues to earn the plaudits, Arsenal's wait for a Premier League title could soon be over.