Martin Odegaard has hit back at critics – including Jamie Carragher – following disapproving comments about his team’s antics that followed Sunday’s 3-1 win over Liverpool.
The Arsenal captain prompted backlash from supporters and pundits for the exuberant celebrations of himself and his team-mates after the final whistle at the Emirates.
Odegaard could be seen soaking up the adulation from the home fans, as well as taking pictures of the club photographer in front of the North Bank stand.
By all means enjoy it, but enjoy it by being disciplined! #ARSLIV
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) February 4, 2024
“You’ve won a game, it’s three points. You’ve been brilliant, they’re back in the title race, get down the tunnel. I’m serious, honestly.”
Gary Neville also labelled the post-match scenes in North London a show of “immaturity” and a sign of vulnerability in the title race, but Odegaard disagreed.
“I think everyone who loves football, they know how much it means to win this game,” said the Gunners skipper, as quoted by the Telegraph.
“And if you are not allowed to celebrate when you win a game, when are you allowed to celebrate?
“We are happy with the win and we will stay humble. We keep working hard and we prepare for the next one, but of course, you have to be happy when you win.”
The 25-year-old was defended by former Arsenal striker, Ian Wright, who questioned why people would want to “kill the joy” from positive moments on the pitch.
“What’s wrong with the captain doing that? It’s got nothing to do with the fact we beat Liverpool, it’s just an opportunity.
“Why is everyone trying to kill the joy? Don’t kill the joy. There is so much of the season to go. As soon as Arsenal do anything, it comes under the pile-on.”
It was unquestionably a big win for Arsenal, who put themselves firmly back in the title picture by moving to within two points of top spot.
There is still a long way to go, however, and it remains to be seen whether the celebrations were somewhat premature or part of the build-up to something bigger for the Gunners.