Martin Odegaard on helping Declan Rice settle, beat Man City and increase Arsenal pressure

It’s no longer a secret how good Arsenal are. Last season, the Gunners surprised the Premier League with a title challenge that few saw coming. A year later, things could not be more different.

Equipped with arguably football’s worst kept secret after confirming the signing of Declan Rice, expectations are high at the Emirates. The further additions of Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber have done little to quell them. Pandora’s box is open and the pressure is on.

However, the Gunners do not seem like a team with the weight of the world on their shoulders. Their early training camps in Nuremberg and Washington DC have exuded the kind of joy and confidence that comes with a genuine sense of ease with where they are. Few personify that more than their captain Martin Odegaard.

“I think it’s more from the outside, though,” he says of the expectations for him and Arsenal in the coming season. “I felt really confident and excited about the season last year. The pre-season that we had last year was great. We had some great results and played some great football so I was confident we would do well. So I think it’s more from the outside.

“Now with the new contracts and what we did last year, I think the expectations will rise. It’s part of the game and we have to deal with it. All we can do is focus on our job and continue to work hard every day and that’s what we’re going to do.”

The stable atmosphere around the group has been decisive for Arsenal’s additions to the value of 200 million. Havertz has already made his debut against FC Nurnberg, while Rice and Timber could follow on Thursday against the MLS All-Stars.

READ MORE: When Thomas Partey and Emile Smith Rowe join Arsenal on US pre-season tour

As captain Odegaard says, he has done a lot to ensure that newcomers quickly get up to speed with the club’s requirements.

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