When Martin Odegaard joined Arsenal last month the obvious comparisons with Meust Ozil were almost immediately drawn.
Two creative playmakers with the initials M.O. making the journey from Madrid to London.
The similarities were so obvious it almost became lazy to mention them.
But on his first European start for the Gunners the Norwegian international began to show why the footballing reasons are just as important as the superficial ones in drawing a likeness between the two.
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In his seven and a half year stay in North London, Mesut Ozil made a name for himself as someone to spot passes that no one could see, constantly wrongfooting cameramen with his unparalleled vision.
In Arsenal’s Europa League Round of 32 first leg tie Odegaard began to show signs that he is more than ready to take on that mantle.
An eye of the needle pass to Cedric in the build up to Bukayo Saka’s crucial equaliser could easily go down as one of the most important moments of the Gunners’ season if they go on to be successful in the competition.
“That’s a miracle pass!” said a gushing Martin Keown of the pass in the BT studio. “That’s his vision.”
Odegaard dazzled on Thursday night
(Image: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
This was not a one off though. A pass impossible to see let alone play to Saka in the first half would have had fans in the Stadio Olimpico off there seats if there were any there to see it, while he was unlucky not to pick up an assist after a delicate through ball to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang midway through the second period.
Odegaard ended the night with two key balls and more completed passes than any other player in the opposition half. These were stats that his predecessor would have been proud of.
But speaking before the game it was not the Norwegian’s creative play that Mikel Arteta felt the need to comment…