Martin Odegaard responded perfectly to Arsenal questions regarding Erik Ten Hag mind games before Manchester United title test

It feels like an age since Arsenal scored two late goals to break Erik ten Hag and his Manchester United team after a dominant performance with 17 shots to the visitors’ ten, more possession and the bigger opportunities. Eight months on and the two sides prepare to meet once again, this time at Old Trafford on Sunday with so much on the line for the Gunners.


Arsenal know a win will guarantee that the title race will indeed go to the final match of the season whilst their rivals Manchester City still have three games to play knowing if they pick up maximum points the title is theirs yet again. Interestingly, Ten Hag has seemingly struggled to forget the clash back in September and has referenced the offside Alejandro Garnacho goal and Rasmus Hojlund’s arguable penalty in what could be double figures in terms of interviews and press conferences.

After the game Ten Hag told BBC Sport: “I think we deserved to win this game but you don’t always get what you deserve.” The statistics, eye test and analysis would say differently.

In February, the Dutch coach brought up the fact he believes his side should have beat the Gunners. “I think we can beat any opponent,” he said.

“Away or home. Sometimes away, we have to believe more. We could have won in Arsenal. We actually deserved that win.”

Then in March, he brought up the game again after they beat Liverpool. “It could be,” Ten Hag said when asked if the derby win would be a turning point.

“But we have missed so many opportunities. For instance, at Arsenal, was it the fourth game of the season? We should have had a penalty for a foul on Rasmus Hojlund.”

These are but a sample of the entire collection of mentions and references that Ten Hag has made, clearly affected by the result from early on in the campaign. From an Arsenal perspective, they can put to bed any suggestions of there being some superiority that is not represented by the table.

Speaking to Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard after the 3-0 win over Bournemouth this weekend, asked if the persistent name checks Ten Hag has made to the Gunners was any additional motivation for the trip. “Honestly, no,” the Norwegian said. “I don’t think so.

“It’s like any other game we are playing for at the moment. I don’t think we need any extra motivation at the moment.

“I think there is enough there. We know what we are playing for. We know the task. We have to win every game and that is what we are going to try to do.

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