Casemiro has received a three-match ban after being shown a red card in Manchester United’s 2-1 victory against Crystal Palace. The incident occurred during a scuffle on the right wing of United’s attacking third, where Casemiro grabbed Will Hughes by the throat. The action was captured by VAR, resulting in Casemiro’s dismissal from the game. This suspension follows his previous one-game ban for receiving his fifth yellow card of the season last month, causing him to miss United’s last Premier League match, a 3-2 loss against Arsenal.
Casemiro has been vital to United’s resurgence this season and he will certainly be a big miss in the next 3 games. United play Leeds twice and then Leicester City in the next 3 Premier League games which Casemiro will miss.
Man United formation without Casemiro
This will be both Fred and Sabitzer’s opportunity to shine and stake a claim to the starting lineup as United’s midfield is currently ravaged by injuries to Eriksen, Van de Beek and Scott McTominay.
The issue with a Fred-Sabitzer double pivot is that both of them don’t quite excel in the deeper, defense screening role which Casemiro plays so well. Ten Hag has rarely used Fred as the deepest midfielder so we expect Sabitzer to take over the role and have Fred slightly ahead of him.
Generally speaking, Ten Hag’s midfield two in his 4-2-3-1 formation operates as a dynamic and flexible unit. The two central midfielders are responsible for controlling the pace and direction of the game, both in defense and attack. They are expected to work in tandem to close down opposition attacks and launch their own, using quick and precise passing to create goal-scoring opportunities.
In Ten Hag’s system, the midfield two may also be responsible for pressing high up the field, forcing the opposition to make mistakes and win back possession. This requires a good understanding of space and timing, as well as a high level of physical and technical ability. Casemiro and Eriksen played these roles to perfection but it remains to be seen how United’s midfield operates in the absence of both of their first choice midfielders.