‘I’d be shocked if it was Fred and McTominay’ To Replace Casemiro- Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand has predicted how Erik ten Hag will replace Casemiro for Manchester United’s trip to Arsenal and says he would be ‘pretty shocked’ if Fred and Scott McTominay started in midfield.

Casemiro has quickly established himself as one of United’s most important players since arriving at Old Trafford from Real Madrid last summer.

The Brazil international, who won five Champions Leagues at the Bernabeu, has helped Manchester United recover from a dismal start to the season to climb to third in the Premier League.

Sunday’s clash at the Emirates Stadium represents a good chance for United to cut Arsenal’s lead at the top of the table but Ten Hag will be without the suspended Casemiro.

Casemiro received his fifth yellow card of the season in the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace on Wednesday night, meaning he will miss United’s trip to north London.

Bringing in McTominay to play alongside Fred appears to be the most likely solution to Casemiro’s absence but Ferdinand says he would be ‘surprised’ if Ten Hag returned to a midfield duo that has drawn criticism in the past.

Instead, the Old Trafford legend expects Ten Hag to play Lisandro Martinez in midfield and continue with Luke Shaw at cente-back.

Martinez, who was part of Argentina’s World Cup-winning squad, played in midfield when he first joined Ten Hag at Ajax in 2019 before moving back into the defence.

‘There’s no getting away from the fact that Casemiro will be a big miss against Arsenal this weekend,’ Ferdinand told William Hill.

‘He’s been brilliant since he’s come in, but United did beat Arsenal without him earlier in the season, so it’s not the end of the world.

‘With him out, I’d imagine Erik ten Hag will shuffle the pack with Luke Shaw back at centre back, [Tyrell] Malacia at left back and [Lisandro] Martinez into central midfield.

‘You’d think that is the way he’ll go, and in all honesty, I’d be pretty shocked if Ten Hag went with Fred and Scott McTominay in midfield as that doesn’t seem to work.’

Ferdinand has been pleased with Manchester United’s improvement under Ten Hag and believes his former club are on track for a top-four finish and possibly a trophy.

United are six points ahead of fifth-placed Tottenham with a game in hand and will soon turn their attentions to an EFL Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.

‘I think top-four and a trophy would be a brilliant season for United and they are very much on track for that,’ Ferdinand said.

‘They’ll be a few bumps along the road, but the results recently have been fantastic and they’ve just got to keep it up.’

The ex-England defender also heaped praise on Premier League leaders Arsenal, who have won 15 of their 18 league games this season despite only finishing fifth last term.

Ferdinand added: ‘Arsenal have been absolutely magnificent so far this season. They have been everything that Mikel Arteta wanted and probably more.

‘The club went through some tricky periods with the manager, but they stuck by him and they are getting the results now.’

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