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Mikel Arteta has been urged not to start £34m Arsenal player v Manchester United
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Mikel Arteta has been urged not to start £34m Arsenal player v Manchester United

Paul Merson has urged Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta to play Emile Smith Rowe against Manchester United if Martin Odegaard can’t feature.

The Gunners legend, writing on Sportskeeda, believes it would be a “big ask” for Fabio Vieira to start at No. 10.

Arsenal head to Manchester United on Sunday in one of the most highly-anticipated Premier League fixtures of the season.

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Over the years, these two titans English football have played out many memorable encounters.

Although neither club has been challenging for the title in recent years, it’s still a huge fixture.

And with Arsenal now early pacesetters for the title and United hoping to surge back up the table, the stakes are now a lot higher for both sides.

The Gunners will want to send a message to the rest of the division, while United will want another top scalp after beating Liverpool recently.

“We will see”

Odegaard is currently a doubt for Arsenal after suffering pain in the victory over Aston Villa.

He was on the receiving end of a robust challenge from Villa’s John McGinn which Arteta described as “harsh”.

At Friday’s press conference, Arteta said: “Those two [Ramsdale and Odegaard] are being assessed.

“We will see more tomorrow. Hopefully they will be able to train with the team.”

And Merson feels Smith Rowe should start over Vieira if Arteta can’t select the captain.

Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

The £34million summer signing is yet to make his competitive debut for Arsenal.

Merson wrote: “If Odegaard is injured, I’d go with Emile Smith Rowe.

“For Fabio Vieira to start this Premier League game is a big ask.

“Arsenal can’t afford to lose, and they don’t need to win this game right now – a draw should suffice.”

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