Arsenal skipper Martin Odegaard has fired back at Jamie Carragher after the Sky pundit savaged the post-match celebrations that followed the 3-1 win over Liverpool. After players had embraced and saluted the crowd at the Emirates, Odegaard remained on the pitch for several minutes and even took pictures with club photographer Stuart MacFarlane.
His actions seemingly infuriated Carragher, who said on air “You’ve won a game, you’ve got three points – get down the tunnel.” The ex-Reds defender later doubled down on his criticisms on social media, before jokingly using a shot of Odegaard as his profile picture.
Gary Neville also branded the behaviour “immature,” and the scenes triggered memories of Arsenal’s seemingly pivotal 2-1 win over Leicester City in the 2015/16 season. Players posed for an infamous group selfie after the game, an image that came back to haunt them as the Foxes duly went on to be crowned champions.
But Odegaard has defended the celebrations, arguing that the celebrations simply signified how much the result meant to his side: “I think everyone who loves football and understands football, they know how much it means to win this game,” he argued.
“And if you’re not allowed to celebrate when you win, when are you allowed to celebrate? We’re happy and we’ll stay humble. After being at the top for so long last season, we always prefer to be at the top, of course.
“But we’re still in a good position, we showed today the quality we have in the team, in a big game, a lot to play for. It would have been a tough one for us to lose today – that would have left us eight points behind, but we really showed up and it was a great performance overall.”
The result cut the gap between the Gunners and the Premier League leaders to two points, but Manchester City can draw level with Mikel Arteta’s men if they beat Brentford on Monday night. And Odegaard also insisted the squad have learnt from last season, with their form derailing in the latter stages after leading City for the majority of the campaign.
“That’s what we have to show this season. We have to show that we learned something,” he continued. “The year before we missed the Champions League and we came back stronger, and last year was a tough ending for us and we have to do the same this year – come back and show that we’ve learned.”
Referring to his side still having 15 league matches to play, Odegaard added: “There’s still a long way to go. We have to stay humble and keep working hard. Still we have some areas to improve.”