Arsenal vs Manchester United – Potential 4-4-2 diamond: Pearson debut

by Sam Peoples

A worst case scenario for Manchester United is that Michael Carrick is ruled out of the Arsenal game because it would leave Louis van Gaal with very little choice in defensive midfield following Daley Blind‘s injury.

Darren Fletcher is also reportedly carrying a knock but even if he is fit, he doesn’t have the same midfield marshal presence he once did. Blind’s excellent performances this season were based around his energy.

With that in mind, it’s a risk but Ben Pearson could come in to make his debut. The 19-year-old midfielder is a defensive rock for the U21s – he sweeps the ball up-field and gives the opposition very little room in possession because his energy levels are phenomenal.

United cannot afford to sit off Arsenal in midfield because that’s when they can be dangerous, so Pearson’s pressing game could help limit their threat in that respect.

Van Gaal isn’t afraid of taking risks. It was a risk to start Paddy McNair against Romelu Lukaku and it paid off. Maybe he will do the same with Pearson and hope for a similar outcome.


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