ANDER HERRERA’s absence from Manchester United’s clash with Chelsea tomorrow will make Blues boss Antonio Conte change his starting XI, claims Paul Merson.
Herrera suffered a leg muscle injury in Manchester United’s Champions League last-16 first-leg clash against Sevilla on Wednesday.
The Spaniard limped off after just 17 minutes and United boss Jose Mourinho confirmed he will be out for a few weeks at least.
Arsenal hero and Chelsea fan Merson reckons Conte would have played Eden Hazard as a false No 9 if Herrera was fit.
But now Merson thinks Olivier Giroud, not Alvaro Morata, should start up top.
“When Chelsea went to Man United last year, Herrera did a job on Hazard,” Merson said on Sky Sports.
“He followed him everywhere. Now I think Herrera’s injured, he came off the other night.
“Now, if he was playing I think they would have played with a false No 9.
“I think Hazard would have gone up and gone to Herrera ‘come on then, you come with me now’. Then bring him back and probably Chelsea would win the midfield then.
“I think you have to go with Giroud up front, I think you have to.
“One, he’s proven, two, he’ll hold the ball up, he gives you that option as well at set plays. I just think it will keep on bouncing back and they’ll be a flow of football.
“Chelsea had to do a lot of running the other day, Barcelona had the ball for a lot of the game and that’s tiring.
“For me I think Giroud plays in this game in my opinion.”