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Manchester United with Three Chances to Prove Erik ten Hag’s Comments on Casemiro Right


Manchester United with Three Chances to Prove Erik ten Hag’s Comments on Casemiro Right

After being sent off prior to the international break, Casemiro will miss Manchester United’s next three Premier League games.

Five weeks after scoring the opening goal in Manchester United’s Carabao Cup final victory over Newcastle United at Wembley, Casemiro will be forced to sit out the rematch on Sunday.

United’s visit to St James’ Park will be the second of the Brazilian midfielder’s four-match ban, which began with his second red card of the season in last month’s goalless draw with Southampton. He was sent off in the first half for a challenge on Saints midfielder Carlos Alcaraz, his second dismissal in three Premier League appearances.

He has, of course, been one of United’s standout performers this season, helping the club transform under manager Erik ten Hag. The £60 million the Reds paid for him has looked more and more like a steal as the season has progressed, and he should be a lock for anyone tasked with selecting a Premier League Team of the Season in the coming weeks.

His latest suspension, however, means he will miss what promises to be a pivotal week in United’s season and pursuit of a top-four finish. After facing Newcastle on Sunday, the Reds face Brentford and Everton at home on Wednesday evening and Saturday lunchtime, respectively.

Although United has grown accustomed to a demanding schedule this season, three league matches in seven days will be taxing, especially given Ten Hag’s lack of options in midfield. The absence of Christian Eriksen does not help the situation. He has been out since January with an ankle injury and is not yet ready to return, despite making encouraging progress.

Working alongside Casemiro, Eriksen quickly formed a blossoming midfield partnership with the former Real Madrid man, with both of them central to Ten Hag’s preferred style of play. Although Casemiro has held the fort well in Eriksen’s absence, United have looked disjointed and disorganized when their Brazilian talisman has been absent as well.

When Casemiro was suspended for three games in February, United lacked midfield control, were uninspiring, and required in-game tactical changes to contribute to positive results, despite taking seven points from a possible nine from their two meetings with Leeds United and clash with Leicester City. When Manchester United faced Arsenal in January, Casemiro was suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season against Crystal Palace a few days earlier, but the result the Reds desired was missing.

Despite a worrying trend of United’s below-par performances when the 31-year-old is absent, Ten Hag, speaking ahead of the Reds’ 3-1 FA Cup quarter-final win over Fulham before the international break, dismissed suggestions that his side is overly reliant on the defensive-midfielder and does not perform as well when he is not on the pitch.

“We have had many more games without Casemiro,” Ten Hag said. “We’ve done really well without Casemiro, especially against Arsenal and the two [matches] against Leeds.”

“I remember every game, and I think we did really well without Casemiro at the beginning of the season.” I want Casemiro to be available because he has a huge impact, but we have won many games without him and must do so with other players.”

United, on the other hand, demonstrated in the aforementioned win over Fulham that they simply cannot cope without Casemiro’s presence in the engine room. United were second-best for 75 minutes against the Cottagers and almost certainly only advanced to the semi-finals because the Londoners chose to self-destruct and lose their heads after Willian blocked Jadon Sancho’s goal-bound effort with his arm.

United, who started with a midfield trio of Marcel Sabitzer, Scott McTominay, and Bruno Fernandes that afternoon, lacked midfield control and were outclassed by their opponents, as Joao Palhinha dictated proceedings and reminded United that they lack a dominant midfielder in reserve.

United clearly regress without Casemiro, as evidenced by their four Premier League defeats when he has not started this season, whereas they have only lost twice when he has started, confirming how powerful he is.

As a result, the upcoming week, while Casemiro serves his four-match ban, will be United’s last chance to justify Ten Hag’s comments and demonstrate that they can play well without him; if their performances are underwhelming and scrappy, it will only highlight his importance.

Manchester United with Three Chances to Prove Erik ten Hag’s Comments on Casemiro Right

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