It felt like the entire of Previous Trafford held its collective breath when referee Anthony Taylor went to test the monitor along with the pitch throughout Manchester United’s 0-0 draw in opposition to Southampton within the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
The sport’s VAR Andre Marriner had requested Taylor to assessment video footage to see if the yellow card he had simply proven to the United midfielder Casemiro needs to be upgraded to a pink card for his deal with on Southampton’s Carlos Alcaraz.
The Brazilian may need related with the ball first, and in the end gained it, however the studs on his proper boot had additionally crashed into Alcaraz’s shin.
Taylor determined this deal with represented critical foul play and on his return to the centre of the pitch cancelled the yellow card and confirmed Casemiro a pink.
The Brazilian seemed distraught, masking his face along with his fingers and resting his head on his team-mate Antony’s shoulder earlier than slowly strolling again to the tunnel.
His despair was mirrored within the stands by the United followers who’ve come to see him as arguably their membership’s most influential participant this season.
Casemiro has given United a brand new presence and management this season, and his performances have helped them win the Carabao Cup, during which he scored in opposition to Newcastle within the closing, elevate them into the highest 4 within the desk, and stay within the latter phases of each the FA Cup and the Europa League.
It’s apparent what Casemiro has delivered to United, and that is overwhelmingly confirmed with a fast look on the statistics. United’s win fee with the Brazilian is 76%, however within the seven video games he has been lacking that dramatically falls to only 43%.
United rating across the identical quantity of targets with Casemiro at 1.9 per recreation as with out him at 1.7 per recreation, however the actual distinction will be seen within the impression he makes to United’s defence; with him they’ve conceded 0.9 targets per recreation, however with out him that just about doubles to 1.7 targets.
However United are going to must cope with out the Brazilian for his or her subsequent 4 home video games, in opposition to Fulham within the FA Cup, and Newcastle, Brentford and Everton within the Premier League, as his pink card on the weekend was his second of the season, following the one he was proven in opposition to Crystal Palace final month.
It represents an enormous loss at a vital stage of the season, particularly as United would not have an apparent substitute, sparking a debate about how they’re going to cope.
The most definitely candidate to fill the void is Scott McTominay, who was introduced on in opposition to Southampton quickly after Casemiro’s sending off to bolster United’s midfield.
The Scot carried out ably for United, serving to to cease Southampton making the most of their additional man and usher his facet in direction of some extent.
It shouldn’t be forgotten McTominay’s performances earlier within the season delayed Casemiro’s full Premier League debut after he had signed in August.
McTominay responded to the Brazilian’s arrival by producing a few of his greatest type and serving to them to 4 consecutive Premier League wins in opposition to Liverpool, Southampton, Leicester Metropolis and Arsenal. His supervisor Erik ten Hag admitted he had made it unimaginable to easily forged him apart for his new £70 million signing.
However McTominay will not be a pure central defensive midfielder, and although he can use his power and athleticism to type a barrier in the course of the pitch, he lacks the calmness and passing potential to actually excel within the position.
When Casemiro was banned for 3 video games final month Ten Hag turned to the Austrian midfielder Marcel Sabitzer, who he introduced in on mortgage from Bayern Munich on the finish of the January switch window.
Sabitzer impressed in opposition to Leeds at residence and away and in opposition to Leicester Metropolis at Previous Trafford in February, as United took seven factors from a potential 9. The Austrian is extra snug on the ball than McTominay, and through video games has considerably extra touches of it.
Sabitzer may be extra of a box-to-box midfielder, however he might actually supply United a brief resolution. Nevertheless, he has missed the final two video games by means of damage and it’s unsure when he will likely be match to return.
One other different is the 17-year-old Kobbie Mainoo, however he solely has 10 minutes of Premier League expertise, and would possibly signify an excessive amount of of a threat.
It has grow to be abundantly clear with out Casemiro United look weak, and their midfield must be strengthened in the summertime, however earlier than then the hope is that they will get by means of the following 4 home video games comparatively unscathed.