Manchester United fans should have another player to fear instead of Martin Odegaard when they face Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday.

The Gunners skipper has been named as Rio Ferdinand’s Player of the Year this season having scored eight Premier League goals.

Arsenal are flying ahead of their clash against United at the Emirates
Arsenal are flying ahead of their clash against United at the Emirates

But Red Devils supporters should be concerned over another Arsenal midfielder in what is the biggest match of the campaign so far.

Erik ten Hag’s side could close the gap on the table-toppers to just three points with a victory in north London.

But they know they will face their toughest test of the season with the two teams playing out a closely-fought match in September in what remains Arsenal’s only league defeat.

The Red Devils prevailed as 3-1 winners despite being dominated for the majority of the game as Mikel Arteta’s naivety in making attacking substitutions proved costly.

United could go into the weekend’s meeting having won ten in a row should they emerge victorious at Crystal Palace on Wednesday night.

Premier League matches at the Emirates have proven to be tricky fixtures for United in recent years where they have failed to win any of the last four.

The Gunners’ only Premier League defeat this season came at the hands of United
The Gunners’ only Premier League defeat this season came at the hands of United

Arsenal have won five out of the last seven top-flight meetings at their own ground, and one man in particular has been a constant thorn in United’s side.

Granit Xhaka has scored in three of those victories, with each of his strikes coming from outside the box.

The Swiss midfielder has scored more goals against United than any other team from throughout his career.

In fact, no other player in the current Arsenal squad has found the back of the net on more occasions than Xhaka.

Xhaka scored a rocket against the Red Devils at the Emirates last season
Xhaka scored a rocket against the Red Devils at the Emirates last season

And with Xhaka currently enjoying his best goalscoring season [four] since the 2018/19 campaign, United know they have to be wary of the 30-year-old.

He has thrived in his new free-roaming No8 role alongside Odegaard, where he has finally become the box-to-box midfielder fans thought they were getting when he joined in 2016.

It should come as no surprise that Odegaard has more goals and assists than Xhaka with the Norwegian a naturally more attacking-minded player.

But the ex-Borussia Monchengladbach captain has shown he is just as deadly with the ball at his feet.

In stats obtained by Opta, Xhaka boasts more touches, more passes, a better passing accuracy and more progressive passes into the final third of the pitch.

That is in addition to buying more fouls as well as intercepting the ball more and having a better duel success.

After his stunner last season, Xhaka was quick to state how he enjoys banging goals in against the Red Devils.

He told BT Sport: “I like to score against United, it’s not my first goal against them since I’m here.”

SOURCE

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