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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Erik ten Hag should abandon what he’s done 110 times at Man Utd to avoid embarrassment vs Arsenal – opinion

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Next for Manchester United is the visit of the red-hot Arsenal, less than a week after the 4-0 loss to Crystal Palace, change is needed.

This weekend, Manchester United will welcome Arsenal to Old Trafford, and after seeing what Crystal Palace did to the makeshift defence on Monday, confidence is low.

Taking on the league’s top scorers in the Gunners, things could end up going very wrong in this game should United approach it in the same way that the last game was approached.

In order to avoid what could risk being an embarrassment, Erik ten Hag must change his ways and abandon the plan he’s had for 110 games of his reign so far.

Manchester United's Dutch manager Erik ten Hag gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Crystal Palace an...

Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

Erik ten Hag must set up defensively with three in defence

This isn’t a suggestion that we expect would go down well with supporters given we’re at home and should be trying to win.

But fans have to be realistic now, United were thrashed by Palace away from home in what was as embarrassing result as we’ve seen all season.

So against Arsenal, Ten Hag must switch things up and throw an extra man into defence, simply to protect ourselves from a battering.

The problem is that United just don’t have the personnel right now to compete with Arsenal, through injuries and also required recruitment.

So going defensive feels like the only way for success here, especially with a Casemiro and Jonny Evans pairing likely to be destroyed once more.

Ten Hag has never used a back three at Manchester United but has experience

Reverting to a more defensively sound formation such as a 3-4-3 would be something completely new in Ten Hag’s career at Old Trafford.

In his 110 games, he’s never lined up his side with anything differing from a back four.

However, this isn’t to say he can’t do it.

According to The Coaches Voice, at Utrecht, Ten Hag would occasionally use a back three with the clear intention of securing his side defensively.

So if it was to be a back three, who’d start?

The obvious shoo-in is the only fit centre-half in Evans. Alongside him, we’d expect Casemiro to start as well and then the final position should really go to Sofyan Amrabat.

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