FA CUP: To prevent a ‘six-goal’ battering by Man City, Gary Neville urges a forgotten Manchester United player to get the start

In Saturday’s FA Cup final, former Manchester United defender Gary Neville is concerned about his former team being outplayed in the middle of the field. And Neville has urged Erik ten Hag to start with an additional midfielder

The 2022–23 season comes to an end for Manchester United as they play their closest rivals in the third meeting of the year. However, United won the most recent derby at Old Trafford, 2-1, in January, despite the fact that the Red Devils were soundly defeated 6-3 in the first – a score that flattered Ten Hag’s team.

The choice to start Casemiro and Fred in the second game after they both came off the bench in the first was the main distinction between the two contests. The Brazilian duo excelled at Old Trafford, preventing City from settling into their usual rhythm and limiting Pep Guardiola’s team to just one shot on target throughout the entire game.

Even though Fred has largely been forgotten in recent months, Neville has urged Ten Hag to use the same strategy at Wembley on Saturday. Only two of the last 15 games in all competitions have seen the 30-year-old midfielder get off to a strong start, and he hasn’t been chosen from the start in a single FA Cup game this year. However, Neville believes United need more mobility in the middle of the field and suggested Fred’s presence could stop another six-goal City thrashing.

On the most recent episode of The Overlap, the former defender stated, “I don’t want Manchester United to play with Casemiro, Bruno Fernandes, and Christian Eriksen in midfield. Fred and Casemiro played in the game they won. If it’s Casemiro, Eriksen, and Fernandes, I just don’t see how City won’t go crazy.

“I think the key may lie in the play not having that little bit of something to break it up. I believe that he partnered with Fred and Casemiro, with Eriksen in front, when he won the match at Old Trafford. Then, to the right, they had Fernandes, [Anthony] Martial, and Marcus Rashford.

“The reason I think that works is because City doesn’t have a left-back going forward, and Bruno can tuck in there meaning they almost have four in the middle. Closing that off and giving City’s left-back the ball – Manuel Akanji or Nathan Ake?

“If Bruno finds a small opening and moves inside to defend, in my opinion, let City’s left side have it. I want us to do that. I want that additional [player]. However, it doesn’t really matter if Casemiro is playing alongside [Scott] McTominay. I just think that having an open midfield will be problematic.”

“Eriksen, Fernandes, and only Casmeiro think about defending,” he continued. “The other two function reasonably well without the ball, but they perform better with it than without it.

“I would be very concerned about that, where it could be 6-0, not having that extra man, I think. They played at City, and I believe that game involved McTominay, Eriksen, and Fernandes. It started out 6-1 but ended 6-3, and they simply lost.”

Igbo Kennedy

Igbo Kennedy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *