Erik ten Hag will have to have his thinking cap on as he ponders what he is going to do with his Manchester United line-up because he will be without his influential midfielder against Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 20, 2023
Casemiro will be suspended for the game against Arsenal as he has picked up five yellow cards. The incident occurred in the second half as he fouled Wilfred Zaha.
Losing Casemiro is a big blow for ten Hag and United, but they can draw strength from the fact that they beat the Gunners 3-1 earlier in the season at Old Trafford back in September.
That day, ten Hag opted for a midfield duo of Christian Eriksen and Scott McTominay, and the United manager might think of pairing those two again for the game against the North London side on Sunday.
In order to prevent Arsenal from getting the space that they crave, the Dutchman might go for three in midfield so that United can shuffle a long when out of possession, which would mean that a midfield trio of Fred, Eriksen and McTominay could be deployed with McTominay playing as the singular pivot and Fred and Eriksen alongside him as the two eights.
Another option is that ten Hag could go for a back three, which would bring either Victor Lindelof or Harry Maguire in to the equation, which could allow United to somewhat retain the defensive protection that Casemiro provides, even though a player of his quality is hard to replace.
It is unlikely that ten Hag would go for this but he might think of putting Lisandro Martinez in Casemiro’s position and Shaw goes to centre-back, however, it should be said that, I do not think it would be wise for ten Hag to experiment in game of this magnitude as Martinez has not played in midfield for United since joining, even though he has done it for Ajax under the Dutchman.