MARTIN ODEGAARD timed his sweet strike to perfection.
Both in the sense of the literal connection his left foot made with the ball, booming it past a helpless Jose Sa from 25 yards.
Arsenal playmaker Martin Odegaard opened his account for the club in spectacular fashionCredit: AP:Associated Press
But also in terms of the wonderhit coming just when he needed it most… just as supporters were starting to lose their patience.
Odegaard has largely underwhelmed since joining Arsenal on loan from Real Madrid in January.
And with no option to buy him permanently in the summer, it is fair to question the business sense of developing the 22-year-old for another club’s benefit.
That is a lot easier for Gooners to swallow if the Norwegian is performing to such a high level that he elevates the whole team.
That has not happened so far and the frustration will no doubt have been building when he missed a sitter inside the opening minutes here, scuffing Kieran Tierney’s cutback wide.
A slack Odegaard pass then afforded Bruma a good opportunity but luckily for Arsenal, the Portuguese international could not capitalise.
All was forgotten though when, in the 34th minute, Odegaard unleashed hell.
It was as true a strike as you are likely to see on a football pitch – an “angry goal” as Gunners legend Ian Wright described it on Twitter.
The Norway international put in a man of the match display against OlympiacosCredit: AFP or licensors
The ball moved all over the place and flew past Sa, whose meek flap was no match for the speed and swerve of the shot.
It was a hell of a way to score his first goal for Arsenal, becoming the first Norwegian to net for the club and the 45th different nationality to do so.
Supporters will hope Odegaard, once dubbed the most exciting youngster in the world, can kick on from here.
The confident way he drove at the Olympiacos defence in the second half and set away Bukayo Saka hinted that could be the case.
Arsenal shot themselves in the foot when yet another defensive cock-up gifted Youssef El-Arabi a leveller.
Arsenal go into the Europa League Round of 16 second leg with a 3-1 aggregate leadCredit: Reuters
But thankfully Gabriel’s stunning header and Mohamed Elneny’s thunderbolt put Mikel Arteta’s men back in the driving seat.
Yet having won in the away leg at Olympiacos in the Europa League knockout stages last season and subsequently thrown the tie away at home, Arsenal fans will know their side cannot ease up now.
The same can be said for Odegaard, having finally shown just what he is capable of.