Darren Ambrose would start James Maddison ahead of Martin Odegaard as Arsenal’s captain is yet to get going but the England maestro is ‘flying’ for Tottenham Hotspur.
Spurs capitalised on Leicester City’s relegation from the Premier League to sign Maddison in June. The 26-year-old left the Foxes in a £40m transfer and agreed to a five-year contract at Tottenham. He has since emerged as the key for Ange Postecoglou’s plans in north London.
All the while Odegaard is yet to find a groove at Arsenal especially compared to the 24-year-old’s efforts last season. Ambrose adored what the Norway skipper delivered as the Gunners fought Manchester City for the title. But he does not feel the midfielder is at the same level.
Odegaard and Maddison have delivered for Arsenal and Tottenham
Both, Maddison and Odegaard, have started in all four of their respective team’s four games so far this term. The playmakers have also both scored twice to help Tottenham and Arsenal claim three wins and a draw. Although Maddison has also laid on two assists in his matches.
Maddison erupted out of their gates and assisted two goals on his Premier League debut for Tottenham at Brentford. He found Cristian Romero with a free-kick and later played Emerson Royal in. The four-cap England maestro has also scored at AFC Bournemouth and at Burnley.
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Arsenal, meanwhile, have seen Odegaard score once in their wins against Crystal Palace and Manchester United. The 53-cap Norway star converted his 53rd-minute penalty for the only goal at Selhurst Park. He also drew the Gunners level 35 seconds after the Red Devils struck.
Ambrose feels Maddison is out-doing Odegaard this season
Odegaard was not at his best in Arsenal’s opening-day win over Nottingham Forest but led several dangerous chances. He also delivered a number of exciting touches in their 2-2 draw with Fulham. Yet Ambrose feels Odegaard is so far not matching his efforts from last season.
No Arsenal star outscored Odegaard or Gabriel Martinelli in the Premier League last term as they hit 15 goals each. While only Bukayo Saka (11) and Leandro Trossard (10) offered more assists than Odegaard (8) under Mikel Arteta. Maddison also shone for Leicester in 2022/23.
Despite the Foxes’ relegation, the Coventry-born creator recorded a Premier League career-best nine assists. He also scored 10 goals, which only trailed his tally of 12 from the 2021/22 season. So, Ambrose would now start Maddison ahead of Odegaard on their current output.
“I think Maddison gets in,” Ambrose told talkSPORT. “Maddison is arguably the best player in the Premier League, at the moment. We are talking current form, right now. On current form, Maddison gets in over Odegaard.
“Last season, Odegaard, of course. But this season, the way Maddison is going, he is one of [the] three players since the start of last season that has scored ten and assisted ten [goals].
“Odegaard needs one of the others, Saka or [Mohamed] Salah. On current form, Maddison is flying and Odegaard’s not really started. He is doing okay but he’s not really started yet.”
Arsenal signed Odegaard from Real Madrid in August 2021 for £34m after his six-month loan spell. The Guardian also reported at the time that Arteta wanted to sign Maddison as he felt he would improve the Gunners’ final-third output but baulked at Leicester’s £60m price tag.