Gary Neville reacts to Casemiro blow and makes Arsenal vs Manchester United prediction

Manchester United will be without Casemiro for their top of the table clash against Arsenal (Picture: Getty/ Sky Sports)

Gary Neville has defended Erik ten Hag for failing to protect Casemiro from suspension by selecting him against Crystal Palace, but fears the absence of the influential Brazilian midfielder will cost Manchester United against Arsenal.

The Red Devils looked to be on the verge of a tenth successive win in all competitions on Wednesday night, but Michael Olise’s stunning free-kick ensured a share of the spoils and prevented United from moving to within six points of the Premier League pacesetters.

United’s misery was compounded by the yellow card Casemiro received for an ugly challenge on Wilfried Zaha in the closing stages which represented his fifth caution of the season and earned him a one-game ban.

‘Casemiro getting booked ahead of Sunday is a massive blow because he’s been pivotal for him,’ Neville told Sky Sports.

‘I thought Casemiro would play, I didn’t buy into this idea that he’d be rested because Crystal Palace are too good a team.

‘It wasn’t a good challenge either to be fair, it could have been an orange, nearer to a red than a yellow, it happens though. Manchester United have got to pick it up now, it’s a massive game on Sunday against Arsenal.

‘It’s just a bit of a blip for United but if you’d have offered four points before the derby you’d have taken it but to win that and be 1-0 up in the 90th minute it’s just disappointing.’

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United are the only team to have beaten Arsenal in the league so far this season and they did so without the services of their summer recruit from Real Madrid, who hadn’t signed in time to feature in a 3-1 victory.

Neville believes United will have to weather an early storm at the Emirates Stadium and if they do so, they are capable of earning a positive result but with Arsenal in such stellar form and United without the services of arguably their key player he expects the Gunners to take another significant step towards the title.

He said: ‘They beat them without Casemiro last time. They’re going to have to play extremely well, defend well especially in the first half hour when Arsenal are electric but they don’t have a great bench.

‘If you get through that first period of the game what you’re going to face is what you’re going to face later on in the game.

‘They had that problem against Newcastle who defended really well against them. But Arsenal are in great form, massive favourites for the game with Casemiro out.

‘United have got to hang in there for the first part of the game and they are dangerous on the counter-attack.

‘But without Casemiro I expect Arsenal to win on Sunday.’

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