Thursday, April 18News That Matters

Erik ten Hag faces double Man Utd headache as Casemiro issue emerges

Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag has a decision to make on Casemiro, with the Brazil star at risk of missing Sunday’s clash against Arsenal if he picks up a yellow card in midweek.

The Red Devils remain the only side to have beaten Mikel Arteta’s Gunners in the Premier League this campaign, winning 3-1 at Old Trafford in September.

They currently sit nine points adrift of the league leaders ahead of the trip to the Emirates, but have a match against Crystal Palace to navigate before then.

If Casemiro is booked against Palace on Wednesday, it would be his fifth yellow of the season, resulting in a one-match ban. But, the situation is complicated because Fred – in contention to step in if his compatriot is rested – is also one yellow card away from suspension.

Signed from Real Madrid in a £60m deal, Casemiro has grown into a major part of United’s side after being eased into first-team action.

However, the midfielder hasn’t stayed out of trouble, picking up two yellow cards in United matches before the World Cup and two since, including going into the book on Saturday as his team won the Derby.

Fred hasn’t always been a regular player in the side, but he made his first league start since October against Man City. Both players were cautioned late on during the win, Fred in the 88th minute & Casemiro in the 89th.

One option for United could be to rest both players for Palace, allowing McTominay to start and using Bruno Fernandes in a much deeper role to the one he occupied against City.

The midweek game is the last in which a fifth booking of the campaign would see a United player banned, after the midpoint of the season, yellow card suspensions only apply to players who have 10 bookings.

“We have improved, that is obvious,” Manchester United manager Ten Hag said after goals from Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford helped them come from behind to win the Manchester derby.

“There is still a long way to go but we have a lot of aspects in our game we have to improve but we are progressing.

“The fans may dream but we are not, we have to keep our feet on the ground and face that our game has a lot to improve. It can’t happen that after half-time we are losing so much control in the game.”

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