Arsenal’s Martin Odegaard and Mikel Arteta have won the Premier League Manager of the Month and Player of the Month awards.
Now, the Gunners boss says his side are ready to face ‘one of the biggest games of the season’ – the challenge of the north London derby this weekend.
It marks the first time the Gunners have taken both awards since March 2015, when legendary manager Arsene Wenger and former striker Olivier Giroud won the accolades.
The award was based on the months of November and December, when the Premier League paused half way through for the 2022 World Cup.
Gunners captain Odegaard bagged a brace against Wolves before the tournament, and following the return to domestic action he assisted Eddie Nketiah’s goal against West Ham United before laying on two more against Brighton and getting on the scoresheet himself.
His six goal involvements in the period were more than any other Premier League player in that four-game period.
He’s also fought off competition from Manchester United pair Marcus Rashford and Casemiro, international teammate Erling Haaland, Ben Mee of Brentford, Newcastle United right-back Kieran Tripper and Joao Palhinha of Fulham.
The 24-year-old came out on top after the public’s votes were combined with those of a panel of football experts.
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“It feels great,” Odegaard said. “I’ve said a lot of times this team has a lot of young, hungry players and we play so well with each other, so it’s just a pleasure to be here and to be part of what we’re doing now.
“It’s a pleasure to play with them and show my qualities so I’m very happy to get this award.”
Odegaard is the 21st different player to scoop the prize at Arsenal and the first since ex-captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in September 2019.
He’s also only the second Norwegian to be named Premier League Player of the Month, after Haaland who picked up the trophy in August.
Meanwhile, Arteta has guided the Premier League leaders to four victories in as many games in that time, earning him the award.
It’s the second MOTM prize he’s picked up after winning it in August, too, and his fourth as Arsenal manager.
Now, the Spaniard says he’s raring to go for this weekend’s north London derby against Tottenham, stating his side are ready for the occasion.
“I just love [the derby],” he said. “One of the biggest games of the season. We know what it means.”
When asked about handling what will be a lively atmosphere, he said: “We prepare every game in a different way and we talked about things that are relevant for the way they can develop.”
The Gunners haven’t won at Tottenham since their 2-1 League Cup victory over them in September 2015.
But Arteta doesn’t see this as an issue ahead of Sunday.
“We have, in the last few years, won at places we’ve not won in 15, 16, 17 years,” he said.
“We have a great opportunity on Sunday to get that one.”
Arsenal have been without first choice striker Gabriel Jesus since the World Cup, but Eddie Nketiah has stepped up to fill his space, scoring four times.
But whilst Arteta confirmed Jesus wouldn’t be back for the game against Tottenham, he says Bukayo Saka – who came off injured against Oxford – will be available.
And he believes they have what it takes to keep pushing for the title despite Jesus’ absence.
“We just face the challenge and the opportunity ahead of us,” he said. “We know where we are.”