Gary Neville has defended Erik ten Hag for failing to protect Casemiro from suspension by selecting him against Crystal Palace, but fears the absence of the midfielder will cost Manchester United against Arsenal.
United looked to be on the verge of a tenth consecutive win in all competitions on Wednesday, but Michael Olise’s free-kick ensured the game ended 1-1 & prevented them from moving to within six points of the Premier League pacesetters.
The Red Devils misery was compounded by the yellow card Casemiro received for his poor challenge on Wilfried Zaha in the closing stages which represented his fifth caution of the campaign and earned him a one-game ban.
‘Casemiro getting booked ahead of Sunday is a massive blow because he’s been pivotal for him,’ Neville told Sky Sports.
‘I thought Casemiro would play, I didn’t buy into this idea that he’d be rested because Crystal Palace are too good a team.
‘It wasn’t a good challenge either to be fair, it could have been an orange, nearer to a red than a yellow, it happens though. Manchester United have got to pick it up now, it’s a massive game on Sunday against Arsenal.
‘It’s just a bit of a blip for United but if you’d have offered four points before the derby you’d have taken it but to win that and be 1-0 up in the 90th minute it’s just disappointing.’
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United are the only side to have beaten Arsenal in the league this campaign and they did so without Casemiro, who hadn’t signed in time to play in a 3-1 win.
He added: ‘They beat them without Casemiro last time. They’re going to have to play extremely well, defend well especially in the first half hour when Arsenal are electric but they don’t have a great bench.
‘If you get through that first period of the game what you’re going to face is what you’re going to face later on in the game.
‘They had that problem against Newcastle who defended really well against them. But Arsenal are in great form, massive favourites for the game with Casemiro out.
‘United have got to hang in there for the first part of the game and they are dangerous on the counter-attack. ‘But without Casemiro I expect Arsenal to win on Sunday.’