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Martin Odegaard exclusive: Arsenal will use Premier League title disappointment to come back stronger

Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard told Sky Sports: "To be there and fight for the title against the team who have won everything, it's a good step for us but at the same time it still hurts to be so close to winning. We have to use everything we learned from last year in a good way"

Martin Odegaard
Image: Martin Odegaard spoke exclusively to Sky Sports News

Martin Odegaard insists Arsenal will use the disappointment of missing out on the Premier League title to Manchester City last season to come back even stronger when the new campaign gets under way.

The Gunners led the Premier League title race for 248 days last season before they were eventually chased down by Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, who went on to win the treble, leaving the north London side trophyless for a third straight season.

However, despite the disappointment of not winning a first title since 2004, Arsenal did secure a return to the Champions League for the first time since the 2016/17 season.

Arsenal captain Odegaard, speaking exclusively to Sky Sports News on his side's pre-season tour to the United States, admitted there are still mixed feelings about last season but insists his side will use the disappointment to try and bring trophies to north London next season.

Martin Odegaard celebrates his goal
Image: Odegaard admitted there are mixed emotions at Arsenal about last season

"There are a lot of mixed feelings [about last season]," said Odegaard.

"We are proud to see how far we've come and how much we have improved in the last few years. To be there and fight for the title against the team who have won everything, it's a good step for us but at the same time it still hurts to be so close to winning.

There’s a great energy in the club. There’s a good atmosphere and the players, the club staff and the fans are really connected.
Martin Odegaard

"Our dream was to win and that's what we want, so it still hurts, but we have to use everything we learned from last year in a good way just like we did the year before. We missed out on Champions League, but we came back even stronger and even more prepared.

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"We have to do the same now to come back and use the disappointment in a good way, and that is what we'll try to do."

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Take a look at Odegaard's goals in the 2022-23 Premier League season

'New signings can have impact on and off the pitch'

The Gunners have splashed out more than £200m to bring Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber to the Emirates Stadium, as Mikel Arteta prepares to mount another assault on the Premier League title.

Odegaard is excited by the prospect of playing with Arsenal's new boys, but is also looking forward to seeing what they can add to the squad off the pitch.

"All of the signings can bring something great to the club," he said.

"They are great players and also great characters as well.

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Declan Rice says the opportunity to work with Mikel Arteta was a big factor in his decision to join Arsenal, but admits it was hard to leave West Ham

"They are adapting really well to the club already and it is now really important to have a good squad.

"We are going to play Champions League, be in a lot of tournaments and play in many big games.

"I'm excited to play with the new arrivals. They are good guys on the pitch but also off the pitch, and I feel they are going to give us a lot."

'Togetherness is what makes Arsenal special'

Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard to Sky Sports News:

"The togetherness is what is really special about this team. We are like a family with everyone working for each other and helping each other.

"The club and Mikel Arteta have done a really great job to build this culture and it is crucial.

"Today in football you need the team to be really together and to fight for each other, and that is what we are doing. That is why we are so confident in each other because we trust each other and we work for each other."

'People can say what they want but we'll stay focused'

Martin Odegaard consoles Bukayo Saka after his missed penalty
Image: Odegaard consoles Bukayo Saka after his missed penalty at West Ham

Last season's improvements and this summer's incomings bring new expectations.

Odegaard accepts the pressure will be on to deliver but insists he and his team-mates will not be taking any notice of talk outside the club.

When asked asked about the expectation that Arsenal will push Man City again this season, he replied: "That's football and that's how it works.

Everyone is going to be a bit more experienced this year after what we went through last year. We are going to learn from that and improve.
Martin Odegaard

"There is always going to be talk and expectation but our job is to stay focused on what we can control, which is performance, and what we can do every day in training to make sure we work hard and improve.

"It's a great group. There are a lot of hungry players and young players.

"That's the key for us, to keep working hard, to keep going and pushing every day to be better.

"People can say what they want and write what they want but our job is to stay focused."

Timber: Expectations are really high at Arsenal

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Arsenal's new signing Jurrien Timber says that joining the club is a 'dream come true'.

Defender Timber, who arrived from Ajax for £38m this month, has told his Arsenal team-mates that a lot will be expected of them in the 2023/24 campaign.

"I said to the others, they had a great season and they bought some players - so expectations are really high," the Dutchman said during the Gunners' tour of the United States.

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Wayne Rooney believes Arsenal have made some top signings so far this summer and will be close again to challenging Manchester City for the Premier League title

"It's really nice to see they are building and building, so let's see what happens."

Timber, whose family are life-long Arsenal fans, revealed the decision to swap Ajax for Arsenal was very quick following a few conversations with manager Arteta.

"That's something between the trainer and me," said Timber when asked about the role Arteta played in those chats.

Image: Arteta has refused to close the door on further arrivals before the transfer deadline

"But it was a good conversation and we had a couple more after that. I decided really quick to come to Arsenal.

"It's a dream coming true, that's it to be honest. My patience has paid off. I just followed my feelings. It's one of the most beautiful clubs in the world.

"I think they bought me for a reason, it's to show my skills and add something to this group. I hope I could do it this season."

Nketiah: Hopefully Rice can remember how I like those passes!

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Eddie Nketiah reflects on his earlier days in the Chelsea academy where he played with new Arsenal signing Declan Rice.

Meanwhile, striker Eddie Nketiah is looking forward to a reunion with former team-mate Declan Rice in Arsenal colours.

The majority of Arsenal's summer transfer spending has gone towards securing Rice's club-record £105m switch across the capital from West Ham.

Nketiah and Rice played together in Chelsea's academy from U9 level to U14s - and the pair were even released by the Blues on the same day.

"I'm close to his family and he's close to mine. It helps having that relationship with him and hopefully he can remember how I like those passes made!" Nketiah exclusively told Sky Sports News.

"It's good to have him and I'm sure he's going to be a really good addition and help us this season."

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Arteta is delighted to have sorted important transfers early so the players have time to adapt, and outlines what some of the new signings will bring

Nketiah, meanwhile, is not fazed by the competition in the striker role, which could include new £65m signing Havertz and the return of Folarin Balogun on loan - and has targeted more game time than his nine Premier League starts last term.

"It was a really positive season for me and for the club. It was nice to have that run in the team for such an important, critical stage for us in the title race and the big games," said the forward.

"It's what you dream of as a player to play in these kind of matches, so it was nice to contribute and score goals and help the team.

"I'm hungry for more - I want to have more game time to help the team more and really push myself to improve. Hopefully I can have a good season personally and the team can go one better."

Arsenal's pre-season schedule...

  • July 8: Arsenal 1-1 Watford
  • July 13: FC Nurnberg 1-1 Arsenal
  • July 20: MLS All-Stars vs Arsenal, kick-off 4.30am (Audi Field, USA)
  • July 22: Man Utd vs Arsenal, kick-off 10pm (MetLife Stadium, USA)
  • July 26: Barcelona vs Arsenal, kick-off 10pm (Sofi Stadium, USA)
  • August 2: Arsenal vs Monaco - kick-off 6pm (Emirates Stadium)
  • August 6: Arsenal vs Man City - kick-off 4pm (Wembley) FA Community Shield

Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports

Who will be on the move this summer when the transfer window opens on June 14 and closes at 11pm on September 1 in England and midnight in Scotland?

Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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