Thursday, January 19, 2023

By Phil Leake, PA Sport Data Journalist

Casemiro will be suspended for Manchester United’s trip to Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday.

The Brazilian midfielder – who has emerged as a key player for Erik ten Hag’s side since joining from Real Madrid in August – picked up his fifth yellow card of the season on Wednesday night against Crystal Palace.

He fouled Wilfried Zaha in the 80th minute to protect United’s 1-0 lead, before Michael Olise’s spectacular free-kick ultimately levelled the scores in stoppage time.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the numbers behind Casemiro’s impact for United and the potential significance of his loss.

Substitute to talisman

Manchester United’s Casemiro before coming on as a substitute
Casemiro had to wait for his opportunities at Manchester United after signing from Real Madrid in August (Kieran Cleeves/PA)

Casemiro struggled initially to break into Man Utd’s first team.

The Brazilian arrived at Old Trafford on August 22 2022 but, having watched his new club beat Liverpool from the stands, made just four substitute appearances in his first six weeks in the Premier League.

He had to wait until October 9 for his first start against Everton, after which he has been ever-present.

The 30-year-old’s influence is clear – in the 12 league matches he has started, United have earned 2.25 points per game and conceded a total of eight goals at a rate of fewer than one per game (0.67).

  • Everton 1 Man Utd 2
  • Man Utd 0 Newcastle 0
  • Man Utd 2 Tottenham 0
  • Chelsea 1 Man Utd 1
  • Man Utd 1 West Ham 0
  • Aston Villa 3 Man Utd 1
  • Fulham 1 Man Utd 2
  • Man Utd 3 Nott’m Forest 0
  • Wolves 0 Man Utd 1
  • Man Utd 3 Bournemouth 0
  • Man Utd 2 Man City 1
  • Crystal Palace 1 Man Utd 1

In contrast, Ten Hag’s team managed 1.71 points per game in the seven matches before Casemiro broke into the team, and conceded 14 goals at an average of two per game.

The five-time Champions League winner has brought tenacity to United’s midfield, according to official Premier League data.

Despite missing the early part of the season, Casemiro ranks fourth among all players for successful tackles (53) and joint-fifth for fouls committed (30).

Team game

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford
United beat Arsenal 3-1 in their previous meeting in September, with Casemiro on the bench (Martin Rickett/PA)

Ten Hag played down the significance of Casemiro’s absence after the Crystal Palace match, with the Brazilian having made only a cameo appearance from the bench when United beat Arsenal in September (their only league defeat to date).

 

United’s win at Old Trafford was arguably against the run of play, however, with Mikel Arteta’s side outshooting the Red Devils by 16 to 10 despite being on the end of a 3-1 loss.

This was a regular theme in the opening weeks of the campaign – United had fewer shots than their opponents in five of their first seven league games, none of which Casemiro started.

In contrast, they have equalled or bettered their opponents’ shot tally in all 12 games since, with the former Real Madrid man in the team.

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