April 12, 2021

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Mikel Arteta singles out improving Arsenal star for praise after Olympiacos win

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Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side recorded a 3-1 win over Olympiacos in the first leg of their last 16 Europa League tie (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta was delighted with the performance of Willian after the Arsenal winger made another significant contribution during Arsenal’s Europa League victory over Olympiacos last night.

The Gunners are in a commanding position following a 3-1 victory in Pireas last night, but it was far from a straightforward win for the Gunners, who again made life difficult for themselves by conceding an avoidable equaliser.

Arsenal did, however, restore their advantage when defender Gabriel met Willian’s cross with a towering header which swung the momentum back in the visitors’ favour.

Having struggled badly since his summer move from Chelsea, Willian has begun to turn the corner and has now provided assists in four consecutive matches, much to the delight of his manager who has retained faith in a player he was desperate to sign.

Willian’s presence in the starting line-up last night meant the likes of Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli were forced to settle for places on the bench.

Willian produced an assist for the fourth game in succession during Arsenal’s win over Olympiacos (Picture: Getty)

Explaining his decision to stick by the Brazil international, Arteta said: ‘I think he was really good again tonight. I wanted to give him some continuity because he deserves it. He’s training really well.

‘Another assist and then Elneny, he’s been practising those shots from outside the box with Roundy and today he got his rewards. I’m really happy with the subs as well, the way they came on.’

Arteta was also impressed with the performance of January loan recruit Martin Odegaard who scored his first goal for the club with tremendous left-footed strike from distance.

‘He helps us to do the processes much better,’ Arteta said. ‘He helps us as a team because he gives us a lot of continuity on the ball.

‘He’s really intelligent to find the spaces, he attracts a lot of opponents. We ask him to score goals, to arrive in the box. Today, he scored a brilliant goal and his contribution was really important for the team.’

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MORE : Mikel Arteta ‘not satisfied’ with Arsenal team despite impressive win at Olympiakos

MORE : Martin Keown slams Dani Ceballos and Bernd Leno despite Arsenal victory at Olympiakos in Europa League

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