Merson names Man Utd star who ‘got dominated by Ronaldo’ as he makes Leeds prediction
Paul Merson thinks Bruno Fernandes “got dominated” by the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo and now “looks like a different player”.
Ronaldo left the club in November by mutual consent after his controversial interview with Piers Morgan leaving his relationship with the club and manager in tatters.
The Portugal international became a distraction for a number of players with his presence at the club overshadowing the Red Devils’ ambitions on the pitch at times.
Man Utd are having a good season under Erik ten Hag with Wout Weghorst and Marcel Sabitzer joining on loan in the January transfer window to boost their squad depth.
Casemiro and Christian Eriksen – who has been ruled out until at least the end of April – will be missing for their trip to play Leeds for the second time in a week after being held to a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
But Merson reckons third-placed Man Utd will blow Leeds away at Elland Road with a 3-0 victory to put pressure on Premier League leaders Arsenal and second-placed Man City.
Merson told Sportskeeda: “Manchester United are missing their two best midfielders, and it showed against Leeds. Let’s be honest – with the way they’ve been playing, they should’ve won quite comfortably. They would’ve won that game with Casemiro and Eriksen in the side.
“Man United have improved Ronaldo’s left, haven’t they? The other players are starting to express themselves a lot more now. Rashford can’t stop scoring. Bruno Fernandes looks like a different player now – I think he got dominated by Ronaldo.
“That might be an unfair thing to say, but it does look like that from the outside. Manchester United are not as inconsistent as they used to be, and that’s why they are where they are in the Premier League table.
“Leeds secured a big point this week. I don’t think you’ll see Manchester United held to a draw again. I don’t see them being like they were the other day. I’m quite confident that United will win this match. I expect them to bounce back and win this game easily.”
Man Utd now find themselves just two points behind City but Merson is expecting Pep Guardiola’s men to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat at Tottenham with a 2-0 win over Aston Villa on Sunday.
Merson added: “When you play Tottenham away from home and it’s a difficult game, you play your best players. Kevin De Bruyne is their best midfielder by a country mile, and I found it extraordinary that he was sitting on the bench.
“When you need to try and break a team down in a big game, no one does it better than De Bruyne. That decision backfired terribly against Tottenham, and I was quite shocked that he was left on the bench.
“If Arsenal win against Brentford, Man City have to win this match. They’ll have to win this game and then concentrate on Wednesday’s game against Arsenal. I was shocked by Aston Villa’s result last week. Manchester City will have to win this game, and I expect them to get all three points this weekend.”
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