Football

Joleon Lescott picks out the ‘fantastic’ Arsenal player that Man United need to stop

Arsenal

Arsenal playmaker Martin Odegaard is the one player that Man United must have a plan for, according to ex-Premier League defender Joleon Lescott.

The two clubs go head to head on Sunday at the Emirates, with Arsenal eight points ahead of the Red Devils going into the game.

Man United must have plan for Arsenal skipper

Odegaard has been in outstanding form for Arsenal this season, with the captain leading by example and helping drive his side to the top of the Premier League.

And ex-Manchester City and Everton defender Lescott believes the visitors must have a plan in mind to stop the midfielder if they are to have any chance of coming out on top.

“​​If Ten Hag’s men are to succeed, they’ll need a plan for stopping Martin Odegaard,” said Lescott, as reported by LiveScore. “Arsenal’s captain has been fantastic this season and it hasn’t surprised me to see him take his game up a level.

“He may only be 24 but this is someone who is used to having the weight of a nation on him. I think we sometimes overlook how big Odegaard is in Norway.

“He’s been in the spotlight since he was 15 and is a shining example of a modern-day captain, who leads with his actions on the pitch and discipline rather than barking orders.”

Odegaard finds permanent home in north London

Odegaard first burst onto the scene as a 15-year-old for Norwegian side Stromsgodset, with the midfielder becoming the youngest-ever player in the Tippeligaen when he made his league debut in 2014.

His displays in his home country quickly caught the eye of many top European clubs, with Spanish giants Real Madrid winning the race for his signature in 2015. But things didn’t exactly go to plan for the teenager, with Odegaard spending his first few years in Spain with Real Madrid’s reserve side.

He eventually made his way into the first team, but several loans followed, with the midfielder temporarily lining out for Heerenveen, Vitesse and Real Sociedad.

A loan switch to Arsenal then arrived in 2021, with the Gunners landing the star player on a permanent deal shortly after. The rest, as they say, is history, with the Norway international now the proud owner of the club’s captain’s armband.

Arsenal

Man United star to miss Arsenal clash

Man United have a midfield star of their own in Casemiro, but unfortunately for the Red Devils, the Brazilian will not be available for Sunday’s match.

The ex-Real Madrid man picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in the draw against Crystal Palace on Wednesday. While it is a huge blow for the visitors, Lescott has backed Casemiro’s compatriot Fred to come into the starting XI and do a job in his place.

Speaking of the suspended midfielder, Lescott said: “The Brazilian has been immense since arriving at Old Trafford but Ten Hag seems to have faith in all of his squad members and I’m sure he’ll back either Fred or Scott McTominay to carry out that role.

“If it was me, I’d probably opt for Fred. He features more than McTominay and is that little bit more dynamic, plus he’s just done a fantastic job on Kevin De Bruyne last weekend.

“United dropped points late against Crystal Palace in midweek and while that will have hurt, they’ve got enough strong characters in their squad to dust themselves down and go again.”