'The picture has totally changed': Paul Merson predicts Arsenal v Manchester United result
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

'The picture has totally changed': Paul Merson predicts Arsenal v Manchester United result

Arsenal welcome Manchester United to the Emirates Stadium in a huge Premier League match on Sunday afternoon.

Both the Gunners and the Red Devils are flying high in the league, making this one of the biggest fixtures between the two in recent years.

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal charges can potentially go eight points clear if they win and Manchester City lose earlier on Sunday.

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Meanwhile, Erik ten Hag’s side can reduce the gap to Arsenal to just five points if they win in North London.

On Wednesday, Man United were dealt a huge blow in the form of Casemiro’s suspension.

The Red Devils midfielder picked up his fifth booking of the season in the 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace.

This meant Casemiro would have to sit out Sunday’s trip to the Emirates Stadium.

The 30-year-old has been an integral part of the United team this season after signing from Real Madrid in August.

And Paul Merson feels his absence has “totally changed” the picture ahead of the game.

‘Arsenal definitely have an advantage’

‘I would be flabbergasted if Manchester United went to Arsenal on Sunday and won without Casemiro,’ he wrote in the Daily Star.

‘He is undoubtedly their most important player.

‘Losing him to suspension was such a devastating blow. And you could see how much it rocked both Erik ten Hag and the players in midweek at Crystal Palace.

‘If United held onto their lead at Selhurst Park and won, they wouldn’t need to win this football match. But now they simply have to if they want to win the title.

‘Casemiro would have been able to look after Martin Odegaard in my opinion. The way he was breaking up play against Palace was just mind-blowing.

‘Prior to the last 10 minutes, I was sitting there thinking ‘United could win the league’. Having previously said on Sky that there was no chance on earth that they would finish above Manchester City.

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‘I really thought Arsenal suited Manchester United down the ground.

‘Ten Hag’s side could sit there, soak up pressure and counter-attack like they have done so many times over the years at the Emirates Stadium and Highbury.

‘Now the picture has totally changed and Arsenal definitely have an advantage knowing Casemiro won’t be in the middle of the park this weekend.’

On Sportskeeda, Merson predicted a 3-1 win for the Gunners against the Red Devils.

Arsenal don’t have any fresh injury concerns ahead of the match, so Arteta is likely to go for a similar side to that which beat Tottenham in the derby last time out.

Meanwhile, Casemiro’s absence for United means Ten Hag could opt for Fred and/or Scott McTominay in midfield.

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