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Mikel Arteta explains worrying Martin Odegaard substitution against Aston Villa

Mikel Arteta has explained the reason behind the substitution of Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard against Aston Villa

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Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard
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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, conceded that he was compelled to substitute captain Martin Odegaard during their defeat to Aston Villa due to injury. 

The setback occurred as Villa staged a remarkable second-half performance at the Emirates Stadium, securing a surprising victory with late goals from Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins.

Following the defeat, Arsenal find themselves trailing league leaders Manchester City by two points, though they maintain second place ahead of Liverpool on goal difference. Arteta clarified that substitution of Odegaard was necessitated by a leg issue, dispelling any notion of a tactical decision.

READ MORE: Declan Rice reveals what he did before Arsenal defeat to Aston Villa

“He had a leg issue, that’s why [he was taken off],” Arteta confirmed after the match.

Looking ahead, Arteta urged his players to rebound in the Champions League quarter-final second leg against Bayern Munich. With the tie evenly poised at 2-2, Arteta remains optimistic about Arsenal’s chances of springing a surprise at the Allianz Arena.

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“If one result is going to (make our season fade out), then we are not strong enough,” Arteta said. “Now it’s a big test for us. After losing any game the players are frustrated and sad. But we have a beautiful opportunity that hasn’t happened for 15 years in this club to go to the semi finals of the Champions League. It couldn’t come in a better moment.

“We can’t control [Manchester City]. What we can control is that when we have the run we had when you win, win, win, win, it’s easy. The moment is now. After this blow, it’s how we react,” Arteta emphasised.

He continued, “We have the best opportunity to react against Bayern Munich on Wednesday. The team has to show it. If you want to win, you have to overcome these situations. With the games we had, this was going to happen. It is now about how we react. This is in our control.”

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