Martin Odegaard reveals the 'extra motivation' Arsenal have for Aston Villa clash

  • Arsenal face Aston Villa on Sunday in crucial game at top of the Premier League table
  • Gunners captain says defeat in reverse fixture gave Gunners 'painful memories'
  • John McGinn scored Villa's winner in 1-0 victory in early December
Odegaard's Arsenal face Aston Villa on Sunday
Odegaard's Arsenal face Aston Villa on Sunday / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Martin Odegaard says Arsenal are eager for retribution against Aston Villa on Sunday after a defeat to the same opposition last year left them with 'painful memories'.

John McGinn's seventh-minute finish condemned the Gunners to a 1-0 defeat at Villa Park in early December and served as an early warning sign of the threat Unai Emery's squad would pose this season.

Both Arsenal and Villa have defined aspirations with a handful of games left to play. The former are vying for the Premier League title while the latter remain resolute in their pursuit of Champions League football, especially given Tottenham Hotspur's significant defeat to Newcastle on Saturday.

In his matchday programme notes on Arsenal's website, Odegaard said: "It's a beautiful thing to be a part of right now, involved in all these big games at this important time of the season. Every game means so much, every game is crucial and it's what everyone wants, being there and fighting for the big trophies. This is where we want to be, so we're enjoying it and embracing it.

"We have painful memories of our game away to Aston Villa earlier this season, because we feel we deserved much more than we got. I think we played a pretty good game there, but without getting anything. We know we can definitely build on that to get the result today, and use that game as an extra motivation for us."

John McGinn and Declan Rice
Declan Rice had a challenge keeping John McGinn quiet at Villa Park / James Gill - Danehouse/GettyImages

Odegaard also shared his thoughts on Arsenal's 2-2 draw with Bayern Munich on Tuesday evening, emphasising the emotions experienced and underscoring the significance of gleaning lessons from errors made in the Champions League.

"There were mixed feelings for us after the game on Tuesday night. For the way we played for most of the game and given how much of it we were able to control, I think we should have got the win. You know in the Champions League, playing against the big teams, you get punished for every mistake you make. That's what we saw in that game, so that's the level we are competing at, and that's the quality these teams all have.

"You cannot afford to make those mistakes in this competition, but despite that, we managed to get a result out of it, and it's still all to play for when we go to Germany next week. We have a good feeling that we can win it there, we are confident, so overall it could have been better on Tuesday, but at the same time it could have been worse, so it's not too bad.

"To be honest though, right now all our focus is on facing Aston Villa today. It's so close in the league, but all we can do is look at the next game, concentrate 100 per cent on what we have to do, and go out there to get the points. We need three points every time we play because that's what the league is demanding right now. It's so tight, so tough at the top and every game is crucial."