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William Gallas praises Arsenal star and compares him with Premier League great

William Gallas was impressed with an Arsenal player’s performance against Tottenham and drew comparisons with a Premier League great

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Former Arsenal defender William Gallas
Image credit: Getty Images

Former Arsenal defender William Gallas has commended the Gunners for their impressive performance in the north London derby against Tottenham on Sunday.

Under Mikel Arteta’s guidance, Arsenal netted three goals within 38 minutes before withstanding Tottenham’s second-half resurgence, which saw them score twice.

Gallas, who has captained both Arsenal and Tottenham in previous derbies, asserted that the “best team won” at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. He also expressed confidence in his former club’s ability to sustain their title challenge until the final day of the season.

Reflecting on the pre-match scene, Gallas highlighted the leadership displayed by Martin Odegaard, noting a distinct sense of authority in the Arsenal camp. He emphasised Odegaard’s motivational gestures, signaling a notable evolution in the team’s maturity over recent years.

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“Even before the match started, I saw Odegaard talking to his players with so much authority,” said Gallas.“That is something I haven’t seen before – we’ve seen the Arsenal players huddle before a game, but this felt different. It was a big derby, and he was motivating the team with his gestures.

Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard

Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard (Image credit: Getty Images)

“This is an Arsenal team that has grown up a lot over the last couple of years. They are so close to winning the Premier League and that improved maturity is one of the main reasons.”

Addressing comparisons between Odegaard and Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne, prompted by Gary Neville’s assessment, Gallas conceded that De Bruyne remains a level above. He praised De Bruyne’s consistency and resilience over several seasons, emphasising his instrumental role in City’s success.

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While acknowledging Odegaard’s talent and progress, Gallas outlined the criteria for the Arsenal captain to surpass De Bruyne as the Premier League’s premier playmaker. 

“In terms of the best playmaker in the Premier League, you can’t put Martin Odegaard in front of Kevin de Bruyne yet. De Bruyne is still the man – he is one level above. Kevin de Bruyne has shown he is the best for the last three or four seasons. He is resilient. When he came back from his injury, his performances reminded everyone of just how special he is as a player. There were no doubts if he was going to get back to his level, so he deserves credit for that in itself.

Kevin De Bruyne is a doubt against Arsenal

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (Image credit: Getty Images)

“Odegaard is on the right path. He is up there with the best in the Premier League, but to be the best, you need to win the title; you need to lift trophies.”

Looking ahead, Gallas suggested that if Arsenal fail to clinch the title this season, Odegaard’s leadership could pave the way for future success, potentially marking a transition of dominance from De Bruyne to Odegaard in the Premier League.

“He’s Arsenal’s captain, he takes the responsibility, but the next step to be recognised as the best in the league, is to lead your team to the Premier League title. If Arsenal don’t win it this season, I think next season will be his year and we will see that torch being handed from Kevin de Bruyne to Martin Odegaard.”

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