Soccer

‘We have to adapt to the rules’ says Martin Odegaard after Arsenal win again

Crystal Palace’s Eberechi Eze (right) and Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park, London. Picture date: Monday August 21, 2023.
Crystal Palace’s Eberechi Eze (right) and Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park, London. Picture date: Monday August 21, 2023. Crystal Palace’s Eberechi Eze (right) and Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park, London. Picture date: Monday August 21, 2023.

Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard admits there needs to be a period of adaption to new Premier League rules.

The Gunners won 1-0 at Crystal Palace on Monday night courtesy of a second-half Odegaard penalty but the visitors had to survive the last quarter of the game after Takehiro Tomiyasu was dismissed.

Japan defender Tomiyasu was sent off at Selhurst Park, picking up a soft yellow card for a foul on Jordan Ayew just seven minutes after being cautioned for perceived time-wasting at a throw-in.

The new remit for officiating this season has called, among other changes, for a clampdown on time-wasting – although Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta suggested a stopwatch may be needed to prevent inconsistencies in the ruling.

Odegaard, who tucked away his spot-kick after Eddie Nketiah had been tripped by Palace goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, believes the changes will take some getting used to.

“I don’t know if it’s difficult but it’s new rules so we have to adapt,” he said.

“The first yellow card was harsh, I don’t think he (Tomiyasu) was trying to take a lot of time, he just didn’t have anyone to play to. It’s a bit tricky but we have to adapt. That’s the reality, we can’t do anything else.

“It’s easier to get yellow cards now so you have to be careful and that goes for me as well.

“It’s something to have in mind but I don’t think we should think too much about the rules. We should stay focused on the game.”

Arsenal hung on to seal victory with 10 men, meaning they are one of only three teams to have won their opening two Premier League games of the fledgling new season.

Asked if winning was more important than performances at this stage of the campaign, Odegaard replied: “It’s crucial. The start of the season is always tricky, it takes a bit of time before everyone finds their rhythm and their top form.

“So, it’s crucial to still get the three points and build on it from there. I’m very happy to win and I’m sure we’ll get better and better with every game.

“It was difficult, we had to dig deep and fight for it. When you come here you have to be able to suffer and we knew that before the game. We did that brilliantly and we deserved the three points.”

Palace struggled to truly test Aaron Ramsdale in the Arsenal goal, even when they had a numerical advantage.

Sheffield United v Crystal Palace – Premier League – Bramall Lane
Sheffield United v Crystal Palace – Premier League – Bramall Lane Defender Joachim Andersen believed Palace held their own (PA)

Despite falling to their first loss of the season, defender Joachim Andersen felt the Eagles had held their own against one of the favourites for the title.

“I think the penalty changed the game and we did everything in our power to come back,” he said. “We did really well to do that, but we didn’t create that clear-cut chance to make the equaliser. That’s just unfortunate.

“Everyone gave everything and you could see in the dressing room people were disappointed and tired. In the end, we did what we could do.

“You could see in our game after the red card we were the only team on the pitch. We were playing around their box for almost 20 minutes, but we couldn’t create that clear-cut chance. That one goal was the difference.”