ON the day his skipper was benched for being late, Martin Odegaard arrived just in time.
The nifty Norwegian’s equaliser on the stroke of half-time paved the way for Arsenal’s comeback in the North London derby.
Now the Gunners’ hierarchy have to make sure they waste no time in making his loan from Real Madrid permanent.
The rookie – once overhyped, now over here – is finally getting into his stride following his January switch to the Emirates.
He followed his first goal for the club in their 3-1 Europa League win at Olympiakos on Thursday by netting his first Premier League goal against Spurs.
He is looking quite the player and will undoubtedly only getting better.
The prospect of him playing alongside the likes of Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka on a permanent basis – especially after a full pre-season this summer – is a mouthwatering one for all Gooners.
If Arsenal leave it too late to make that happen it would be almost as big a crime as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s.
The club captain, having been due to start, was named among the subs by boss after turning up late.
It was not the first time this has happened and boss Mikel Arteta had clearly, and understandably, had enough.
The Spaniard’s decision was ultimately validated by his team’s victory over their bitter rivals. But, in truth, he had to make a stand and lay down the law even if it meant sacrificing a win.
And for a while it looked like that might happen as Arsenal trailed to Erik Lamela’s Rabona strike.
Odegaard’s equaliser changed the course of the game – which Alexandre Lacazette won with a spot kick which was fortunate it was awarded for Davinson Sanchez’s foul on him AFTER a miss-hit his shot with only Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris to beat.
But in an age when Premier League stars are afforded too much power, Arteta reminded his skipper of that old virtue – nobody is bigger than the club.
And for that alone, the Arsenal boss deserved the three points.
Aubameyang also needs to be careful because Smith Rowe and Odegaard showed “Captain Late” the Gunners do not need him as much as they once did.
Something the Gabon international should bear in mind when he sets his alarm tonight.
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