HomePREMIER LEAGUEManchester United has not only failed to replace Casemiro.

Manchester United has not only failed to replace Casemiro.

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Manchester United has not only failed to replace Casemiro.

Manchester United’s midfield was once again a problem as they lost to Newcastle in the Premier League at the weekend.

Erik ten Hag has insisted that Manchester United have been able to function without Casemiro this season, but the weekend defeat to Newcastle proved otherwise.

Even when they have won without the former Real Madrid man, there has been a noticeable drop in quality, though they have frequently avoided defeat.

United’s approach at St. James’ Park demonstrated how badly they are struggling in midfield. Not only from Casemiro’s absence, but also from the continued absence of Christian Eriksen.

Ten Hag’s dream philosophy is for this United side to be composed and creative with the ball at their feet; his two midfield summer signings are the epitome of that style of play.

Casemiro and Eriksen not only have the passing range and technical ability to create something out of nothing, but they are also both vastly experienced and rarely show signs of nervousness on the field.

Their experience would have been invaluable on Sunday, but with none to choose from, Ten Hag was forced to field a makeshift midfield that lacked the poise he requires.

What’s more concerning is that United has now taken just one point from away games this season against Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Newcastle.

The only game in which Casemiro and Eriksen both started was the one at Stamford Bridge, where they earned a single point. It makes those four losses less surprising.

United have fared well since the Danish international was injured against Reading in January. They’ve won 10, drawn three, and lost two games.

That is, at least, how it appears on paper; anyone who has watched United over the last three months will notice that they haven’t had the same dominance in matches and have had to rely on short bursts to do their damage, rather than controlling the majority of a game.

United’s recent form has been boosted by cup success, but the story is very different in the Premier League. Since Eriksen’s injury, they have only won three of seven games in the Premier League.

Ten Hag has stated that he would like to add another creative midfielder to his squad during the summer transfer window, but their activity in January demonstrated that it is easier said than done.

They could only afford a loan signing with their limited funds, and despite his best efforts, Marcel Sabitzer would be more of a supplementary squad addition than a meaningful replacement this summer.

Ten Hag’s squad selections in recent weeks have been strange due to the obvious need for another senior creative midfielder. Following Aaron Wan-late Bissaka’s withdrawal, United named two goalkeepers on the bench against Newcastle, when Kobbie Mainoo or Zidane Iqbal would have made more sense.

The pair are both raw young talents who may not have been able to alleviate the Tyneside trauma, but they would have provided an additional option in the circumstances.

Even after the loss to Newcastle, they still have a chance to finish in the top four, and it is difficult to see two teams having the consistency to make them pay if they continue to drop points.

United will also argue that they have been through a difficult period of the season without two of their most influential players and arguably their most important partnership, but there is light at the end of the tunnel with Casemiro returning next week and Eriksen now training on grass.

When those two summer signings return to the team, it will be a more accurate reflection of where they are, but the harsh reality is that they must also learn to cope when they are not present.

United has not been able to replace Casemiro, and they have also been unable to replace Eriksen.

Manchester United has not only failed to replace Casemiro.

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