Solskjaer wary of Odegaard threat as Man Utd aim to keep out Arsenal

Date published: Friday 29th January 2021 2:41 - Samuel Bannister

Martin Odegaard

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sent a message to compatriot Martin Odegaard ahead of Manchester United’s clash with Arsenal on Saturday.

United go into the match looking to bounce back to winning ways after suffering defeat to Sheffield United last time out.

A tough opponent awaits, though, as Arsenal have been revitalised recently. There are still 10 points between the two sides in the table, but it will be a fiercely-contested encounter.

United boss Solskjaer has been impressed with the way their opponents have got back on track over the past month or so.

“They have been impressive lately, turned it around,” he said.

“Since the Chelsea game they have got really good results.

“Always great games against Arsenal. Some classics between the two sides.”

One factor for United to consider could be the introduction of a new player among the opposition ranks.

Odegaard has joined Arsenal on loan from Real Madrid until the end of the season. Although he is unlikely to start straight away, he could be involved at some point.

As a fellow Norwegian, Solskjaer knows all about the threat Odegaard could pose if available.

“Martin is a very talented young player,” Solskjaer said. “We know from the national team that he can cause anyone problems.

“Just hope he isn’t finding his form on Saturday! We wish him all the best.”

United, for their part, are hoping to be able to call upon Eric Bailly for the match despite him missing the last match.

“He is travelling to Arsenal,” Solskjaer confirmed. “Apart from that we didn’t get any losses.”

Solskjaer wants a compact defence

Something United will have to improve upon if they are to keep pace in the title race this season is their defensive record.

They have conceded more goals than any other side in the top half so far. In fact, they have let in the same number of goals as one of the teams in the relegation zone, Fulham.

Conceding six in one game against Tottenham earlier in the season did not help, but some issues still linger which Solskjaer hopes to resolve.

“You are not happy with conceding goals, of course not,” he said. “Six of them in one game was a big part of this.

“We are getting goals at one end but opening up at the other. We are working on the press, we defend as a team, we have gotten better and better over the years.

“Let’s hope we can be a compact unit against Arsenal as well.”

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