Home ยป Paul Merson says Erik ten Hag should start Cristiano Ronaldo instead of Jadon Sancho

Paul Merson says Erik ten Hag should start Cristiano Ronaldo instead of Jadon Sancho

Spurs' defensive style can be broken down if United can utilise Ronaldo's aerial prowess

by Ayantan Chowdhury

This might prove to be a pivotal week for Manchester United as they get ready to face their main competitors for a place in the Premier League top four — Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.

After they stuttered to a goalless draw at home to Newcastle United, Erik ten Hag knows his side cannot afford to drop more points or they will lose pace with the pack ahead of them.

Tough week ahead for United

The Red Devils are currently fifth in the table, three points behind Chelsea who are in fourth and seven points behind third-place Tottenham, who have played a game more.

Spurs are up first and they have proved to be a tough team to beat under Antonio Conte. The North London side have lost only one so far and they will be hoping to keep that streak intact.

Arsenal legend Paul Merson has advised Ten Hag to drop Jadon Sancho and play Cristiano Ronaldo as that would give the 20-time English champions the best chance of success.

Merson feels Ten Hag’s best chance to get over the line against a well-drilled Spurs side is to play a three-pronged attack comprising of Marcus Rashford, Ronaldo and Antony.

Writing in his column for Sportskeeda, he said, “I think Cristiano Ronaldo will play this game. I only say that because I know that Tottenham will play everybody behind the ball.

“Manchester United will need to put balls into the box, and Ronaldo is the best header of the ball in the world. I’d leave Jadon Sancho out this week and play Ronaldo, Rashford, and Antony up front.”

Ronaldo a better option than Sancho

Rashford had the chance to seal all three points against Newcastle late on from a header but he ended up missing the goal altogether. If Ronaldo were on the pitch at that time, that would most likely not have been the case.

The Portuguese was the star last time around when both teams met. His hat-trick inspired United to a thrilling 3-2 win after which Conte was forced to come out and praise United’s No 7.

The Italian manager is wary of the threat Ronaldo brings to the contest and despite his poor form so far this campaign, no team will dare to underestimate the Portugal international.

Ten Hag will be hoping to get Anthony Martial fit for the contest and will have a big call to take with regards to team selection for tonight’s game while keeping in mind the congested schedule coming up.

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