Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard has provided his straightforward assessment of Rodri’s tackle on him during Norway’s opening European Championship qualifier against Spain on Saturday.
La Roja won the game 3-0, but the Scandinavian outfit felt they should have been awarded a penalty prior to Dani Olmo’s opening goal when the Arsenal playmaker came under a horrific challenge from the Manchester City midfielder Rodri Hernandez after taking a shot in the Spanish box.
Rodri followed through late on Odegaard in the Spain 18-yard box, and completely wiped out the midfielder, leaving him in discomfort.
Arsenal fans were outraged on social media, especially because the challenge came from a player from a direct title contender.
The playmaker, however, got back up and finished the game, though it remains to be seen how his recuperation will be moving into the next game away to Georgia on Tuesday.
Following the incident, Odegaard told TV2: “He’s coming with his studs right on my ankle. But I’m sure I’ll get punished [if I say anymore]. I don’t bother saying anything else about the referee. It’s better not to say anything.”
Norway’s boss, Stale Solbakken, was also astounded by French official Benoit Bastien’s decision.
The former Wolves manager stated: “He finishes the shot and you can’t [foul him after]. If I knock someone down after the ball is gone, then it’s a penalty. I get a little bored of this. What I see here now [on the replay] is exactly what I saw from the bench. There was a bit of French arrogance going on. That’s the way it is, but it’s unbelievable.”
Arsenal fans, players, and staff alike will be hoping that the squad will return from the international break in peak shape ahead of the season’s final stretch.
With an extra game played, the Gunners are currently eight points clear of their Premier League rivals Manchester City, putting the title battle firmly in their hands.
Norway will return to action against Georgia on Tuesday, with Odegaard hoping to avoid defeat before returning to Emirates Stadium ahead of Arsenal’s home match against Leeds on April 1.