'Phenomenal' Odegaard delights Arteta at Arsenal
Mikel Arteta has heaped praise on Martin Odegaard for how he has started at Arsenal, calling the midfielder's effort "phenomenal".
Odegaard joined Arsenal on loan from Real Madrid towards the end of the January transfer window.
He is yet to register a goal or an assist in eight outings for the Gunners, prompting former players like Martin Keown and Nigel Winterburn to criticise his start.
But Arteta has been highly impressed by the 22-year-old and is thrilled with how well he has settled, amid speculation over whether Arsenal will opt to pursue a permanent move.
"I'm really happy with him," said Arteta. "I think he has settled really, really quickly into the team and with what we demand from the players.
"His behaviour, his attitude and his work rate has been phenomenal.
"He has had better moments than others during games to give us the special qualities he has, but overall, I'm really happy with him."
One of the players Odegaard is battling with for selection is emerging attacking midfielder Emile Smith Rowe.
Smith Rowe has been out of action with a hip injury for the last 10 days but might be back in time to face Olympiacos in the Europa League last-16 first leg on Thursday.
"He is going to have a full session [on Wednesday] to see if he can be involved for [Thursday's] game," said Arteta.
"After training, we will know exactly where we are with him."
The tie will see Arsenal come up against former player Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who joined Olympiacos on a two-year deal in January.
Arteta added ahead of the away first leg: "I am looking forward to seeing Papa, he is such a good character and a very popular player here.
"He was liked and loved by everybody. It was a pleasure to work with him, such a pro.
"It is true he knows what we try to do, but there isn’t a magic formula. I’m sure he will try to do his best and we will do the same."
Arsenal and Olympiacos have previously met on 10 occasions across all European competitions, with no encounter ending level and both teams winning five times each.
Greek champions Olympiacos dumped Arsenal out of the Europa League last season at the last-32 stage.
The Gunners are hoping to avoid back-to-back eliminations suffered at the hands of the same side, which last happened to them in 2012-13 and 2013-14 against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.