“He’s got no chance” – Paul Merson Claims Manchester United Will Be ‘Destroyed’ If Casemiro Starts At The Back Against Manchester City


Arsenal legend Paul Merson has urged Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag not to deploy Casemiro in defense in the FA Cup final, claiming the Brazilian cannot compete with Manchester City goalmachine Erling Haaland.

Casemiro Has Drawn Criticism Due To Poor Defending

Former Real Madrid man Casemiro is widely hailed as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. Over the last decade, he has produced numerous noteworthy performances in midfield, shielding his team from the most potent attackers in the world. However, as a make-shift center-back, his performances have left a lot to be desired.

Due to an injury crisis, Ten Hag deployed Casemiro in defense in the last few weeks of the 2023-24 Premier League season. The five-time UEFA Champions League winner delivered a few decent performances at first, but he came undone in the 4-0 drubbing against Crystal Palace on May 7.

The 32-year-old struggled with his positioning, did not cover his man, and was easily dribbled past by Michael Olise and Co. Casemiro did fare better in the wins against Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion, but many, including Merson, are skeptical about his ability as a center-back.

Paul Merson Claims Manchester City Will Destroy Manchester United If Casemiro Starts As Center-Back

In his Merson Says column for Sky Sports, the two-time English champion declared Casemiro was not equipped to handle Man City ace Haaland, advising Ten Hag not to deploy him at the heart of the defense on Saturday (May 25).

Merson stated:

If Casemiro starts at the back again, don’t worry about tactics, don’t worry about counter-attacking football, don’t worry about anything – they’ll be destroyed.

He cannot play there, he’s not a centre-back, especially against one of the best in the business – that’s an absolute no-go. They need to get someone fit, or come up with a different plan. With that plan, there’s only one outcome.”

Merson concluded by adding:

He’s a midfielder, he’s been a top-top midfielder, but don’t ask him to go up against Erling Haaland. He’s got no chance.”

Manchester United will be without Harry Maguire for the FA Cup final on Saturday. But luckily for Ten Hag, Victor Lindelof and Lisandro Martinez have returned to training and should be fit enough to contribute.

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