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Martin Odegaard: ‘We have to remember it has been a great season’

Arsenal skipper Martin Odegaard asked for calm heads following his side’s exit from the Europa League last night.

The playmaker asked everyone to remember that their season had been remarkable up to this point.

Arsenal drew 2-2 with Sporting CP in Portugal and were favourites to progress to the quarter-finals. They took the lead after 19 minutes through Granit Xhaka.

The Swiss midfielder was on hand to slam home the rebound from a Gabriel Martinelli shot palmed away by Sporting goalkeeper Antonio Adan.

However, Arsenal failed to add a second as Sporting stood resolute before netting their equaliser. Pedro Goncalves scored from near the halfway line, catching out the retreating Aaron Ramsdale.

It did not help that Arsenal lost two of their defenders, with William Saliba and Takehiro Tomiyasu leaving the game early on through injury.

Sporting took the Gunners to penalties despite going a man down, with the impressive Manuel Ugarte receiving a red card. Gabriel Martinelli missed his penalty kick to give Sporting the win.

Following the game, Odegaard told BT Sport: “We have to remember it has been a great season. We have done amazing things this year.

“Of course, it’s a big blow to go out of this competition, but we have to look forward. We have to look to Sunday.

“Just come back stronger and make sure we finish well in the league. That’s the only thing we can do now.”

The Norwegian attacking midfielder also provided some comforting words for Martinelli after he missed his spot-kick.

Odegaard said, ‘we are all in this together’ when asked about the Brazilian international missing the crucial penalty.

Arsenal’s sole focus is now the Premier League, where they are top of the standings ahead of Manchester City.

They are seeking their first Premier League title in 19 years and are the team to beat with 11 games left.

The Gunners welcome struggling Crystal Palace to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday but will be wary of their recent record against the Eagles.

In their last four meetings at the Emirates, they have drawn three and lost the other.

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