Casemiro’s Carabao Cup clinic: Defensive midfielder, defender and sweeper all in one
Casemiro was deservedly named man of the match after Manchester United’s 2-0 Carabao Cup closing victory over Newcastle — and but, in one sense, this was Casemiro’s worst recreation in a Manchester United shirt.
The Brazilian midfielder produced a 58 per cent move completion charge, a bizarrely low determine for a revered deep midfielder.
It wasn’t even a mirrored image of Casemiro’s dedication to play bold passes however extra proof that this wasn’t a Manchester United show primarily based on passing. David de Gea’s clearances went over his head. The centre-backs performed the ball broad reasonably than by the centre. Erik ten Hag’s group merely didn’t play by midfield and subsequently, Casemiro usually solely discovered the ball at his ft when he’d received it again himself.
And that was what this efficiency was all about. Casemiro headed residence the opener however in a practical Manchester United show, the emphasis for him was on the defensive aspect of a defensive midfielder.
In a 4-2-3-1 that seemed extra like 4-3-3 when Manchester United had possession, with Fred pushing on, Casemiro was requested to dominate a whole lot of area in the centre of the pitch.
With out the ball, at instances, Manchester United successfully man-marked. Fred watched Sean Longstaff and Bruno Fernandes was charged with monitoring Bruno Guimaraes, whereas Casemiro would dangle again and hold tabs on Joelinton.
That was a very vital job as Newcastle seemed to push Joelinton ahead from midfield into his previous place as a centre-forward and that’s why Casemiro spent lengthy durations enjoying a lot nearer to his again 4 than to his two midfield colleagues — he was at all times checking over his shoulder when the ball was on United’s left, watching Joelinton’s place.
In some passages of play, Casemiro successfully dropped in to grow to be a fifth centre-back, often to the precise of Raphael Varane to make sure he was in a place to problem Joelinton, who pushed ahead from the left of Newcastle’s midfield trio.
Right here’s the same incident, albeit from a Newcastle throw, with Casemiro changing into the central defender in a again 5.
It’s notable how a lot area there may be between Manchester United’s correct centre-backs, with Varane hanging again to deal with Joelinton. Casemiro is once more tasked with defending an enormous quantity of area, up towards Newcastle’s centre-forward Callum Wilson.
And this was the notably spectacular a part of Casemiro’s recreation. He didn’t merely watch Joelinton — he additionally acted as Manchester United’s finest weapon for dispossessing Wilson.
Right here, from a protracted ball downfield, Wilson controls the ball along with his thigh however Casemiro darts in to sort out him. He then receives the ball on the run and performs in Marcus Rashford, who’s fouled.
From the ensuing free kick, Luke Shaw whips the ball into the field and Casemiro heads residence.
And for the second purpose, Casemiro does one thing comparable — he’s faster than Wilson to a protracted ball and heads it onto Rashford. After a little bit of mixture play and a fortunate deflection, Rashford’s effort finally ends up in the web. It’s 2-0 and Casemiro has been accountable for regaining possession in the lead-up to each objectives.
This incident beneath summed up Casemiro’s efficiency towards Wilson.
Chasing again on a counter-attack, the 31-year-old manages to get goalside and holds up his opponent. He then jumps in to sort out Wilson and delay the transfer. After which, when Wilson is first to the free ball and tries to play in Miguel Almiron, Casemiro wins the ball a second time.
The second half introduced a distinct problem. Eddie Howe launched Alexander Isak in place of Longstaff and moved to extra of a 4-2-3-1. Joelinton was not a menace breaking ahead from midfield — however Isak was. Nearly instantly, he obtained a throw from Kieran Trippier and spun Casemiro.
And with Casemiro now more and more dragged in direction of Isak, Wilson intelligently dropped deep to seek out area. Ten Hag finally seemed to solidify his midfield, eradicating Fred and centre-forward Wout Weghorst, and bringing on the combative duo of Marcel Sabitzer and Scott McTominay.
However Casemiro was nonetheless the sport’s finest participant. Right here’s a Newcastle transfer that went incorrect: Allan Saint-Maximin performs the ball in behind for Isak however the striker had already halted his run. Casemiro did learn the move, nonetheless — so, having spent a lot of the recreation screening in entrance of the again 4, he now drops behind them to mop up.
That summed up Casemiro’s efficiency — defensive midfielder, defender and sweeper in one.