Thursday, September 7, 2023

Mikel Arteta: I was surprised like everyone else when Martin Odegaard took Arsenal penalty instead of Bukayo Saka

Manager Mikel Arteta had ‘no clue’ Martin Odegaard was going to take Arsenal’s penalty against Crystal Palace.

The Gunners captain stepped up to fire his club into the lead at Crystal Palace, with his spot kick going on to be the only goal of the game and sealing all three points.

Odegaard scored the winner for Arsenal from the spot on Monday nightGETTY

Arteta said what all Arsenal fans were thinkingtwitter:@footballdaily

But amongst the celebrations in the away end at Selhurst Park, fans were questioning why usual penalty taker Bukayo Saka passed the ball to Odegaard to take it.

It turns out those in the Arsenal dugout were equally as confused, too.

“I have no clue, to be fair!” Arteta smiled when asked about Odegaard taking the penalty instead of Saka.

“It’s about leadership of players, and if they felt it was the right thing to do, for me, I’m fine.”

He continued: “They have to make those decisions on the pitch. I was surprised like everybody else.

“He scored which was the important thing, and we won the game.”

Odegaard provided some clarity on the situation after the full-time whistle, though.

“We’ve been taking [penalties] in pre-season a lot and I’ve scored all mine,” he said. “So I just asked him, and he gave it to me so I have to thank him for that one.”

Saka normally takes penalty dutiesGetty

“I had no clue to be fair. I was surprised like everybody else.”

Mikel Arteta on Martin Ødegaard stepping up to take the Arsenal penalty over usual taker Bukayo Saka.

— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 22, 2023

Saka has scored three out of his four senior penalties for Arsenal since he started taking them in 2021/22, missing one against Manchester City last term.

Meanwhile, Odegaard had last taken a spot kick in 2018/19 for Vitesse.

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