Manchester United have been dealt a major blow ahead of Sunday’s Premier League clash with leaders Arsenal after Casemiro was suspended for the difficult trip to the Emirates Stadium.
Casemiro, who has made such a phenomenal impact for United since his £60million move from Real Madrid, received his fifth yellow card of the season for a cynical foul on Wilfried Zaha in Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace.
United were leading 1-0 at the time and on their way to what would have been a tenth straight win in all competitions. But in an attempt to prevent a Palace breakaway, Casemiro robbed Zaha with a full-blooded high tackle that was perhaps lucky not to be more severely punished.
The Brazilian immediately showed his frustration with team-mate Bruno Fernandes, giving the United skipper a knowing look after seconds earlier he had jumped out of a challenge which helped the ball break to an advancing Zaha.
Casemiro otherwise produced an outstanding performance in south London, breaking up play in the middle of the pitch and giving his teammates a platform to perform on.
His presence in recent months has highlighted the importance of having a world-class defensive midfielder, but his yellow card and perhaps the realization that he will miss the trip to Arsenal looked to have surprised United enough for Palace to finish stronger and take a point .
Moving from Real Madrid last summer just months after winning a fifth career Champions League title, Casemiro did not initially command a starting place under Erik ten Hag while he was given time to learn the tactical system in place in his new club.
His last Premier League game as a substitute was the 6-3 annihilation of Manchester City in October, with United set to become the country’s form team when he became a new starter.
United have already beaten Arsenal once this season, the only team in the Premier League to do so. But finding a way to repeat that against the Gunners on their own ground will now be that much more difficult.
In this edition of TPL, Scott Saunders and Rob Blanchette discuss the Manchester derby win, the upcoming match against Crystal Palace, Wout Weghorst’s comments and more! If you cannot see this embed, please click here to listen to the podcast!