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Ten Hag must unleash world-class Man Utd duo against Arsenal

cristiano ronaldo man utd 2021

Manchester United will be aiming a fourth successive Premier League win when they host Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.

The Red Devils started their campaign in the worst possible fashion with two defeats, but have picked up momentum with three victories on the bounce.

After a strong showing against Liverpool, the performances at Southampton and Leicester City were unconvincing, but they prevailed with crucial 1-0 wins.

United now face a tricky challenge against league leaders Arsenal, but they should go into the game with confidence with the Gunners missing key players.

Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey are out with muscular injuries while Oleksandr Zinchenko has also been ruled out. Martin Odegaard and Aaron Ramsdale are doubtful.

Hence, United have been handed an early advantage, and manager Erik ten Hag has the chance to inflict a first season defeat on the Gunners with the right team selection.

The Dutchman has named an unchanged side for three games running but in our view, the 52-year-old should consider unleashing Casemiro and Cristiano Ronaldo in the XI.

Casemiro is widely regarded as one of the world’s best defensive midfielders, but he has had to settle for cameo roles after the hour mark with Scott McTominay starting over him.

Ten Hag obviously wants the Brazilian to adapt to the Premier League intensity, but it appears a no-brainer to play him from the off as he has had multiple training sessions already.

With injuries to Elneny and Partey, the Gunners have a potential weakness in midfield in the form of Albert Sambi Lokonga, who is still relatively inexperienced at the top level.

The Belgian is good with his distribution, but can be error-prone when the pressure is on him. Casemiro is well accustomed to the role, and has the chance to dominate the midfield battle.

Whether McTominay is dropped for him remains to be seen. Ten Hag may also choose to go with two holding midfielders. We could see one of Christian Eriksen or Bruno Fernandes benched.

Ronaldo must lead the line against Arsenal

Marcus Rashford has started up front in each of the club’s three victories this campaign. However, we fancy him switching to the left wing on Sunday with Ronaldo leading the attack.

The Portuguese star was impressive in his 22-minute cameo against Leicester yesterday. He could not find the back of the net, but definitely brought an increase in the attacking tempo.

The 37-year-old attempted two shots which were off target, but one of those was an audacious overhead kick which went just wide of the far post. He also delivered a superb pass in the box.

Ronaldo put the ball on the plate from the right flank, but a tiring Eriksen could not arrive in time to tap home.

With Anthony Martial still out with an Achilles injury, Ten Hag should make the tactical switch and play Ronaldo up front. He has an excellent scoring record against the Gunners.

Ronaldo has nine goals in 17 meetings against the north London side and three of those came last season. He netted twice from open play, and should be a handful for a young backline.

William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes have excelled as a central defensive pairing for the Gunners, but can be occasionally error prone when there is a strong physical presence around them.

Ronaldo is still one of the world’s best in the air and could make a difference from the starting XI.

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