One observer thinks Man Utd have a new undroppable player, and believes he forms part of a quartet that are laying the foundation for success under Erik ten Hag.
Manchester United are unbeaten in their last five matches across all competitions. Their last defeat was a heavy one – the 6-3 demolition at the hands of near neighbours Man City.
However, Ten Hag has revitalised his troops since then and there is a growing sense the Red Devils are at the start of a promising journey.
The five-match undefeated run has also coincided with Casemiro’s greater involvement in the team.
After being made to bide his time following a £70m switch from Real Madrid, Casemiro has started the last five. In fact, the Man City defeat was the last match in which Casemiro didn’t start.
They’ve beaten Omonia Nicosia home and away in the Europa League during the streak. On the domestic front, they’ defeated both Everton and Tottenham either side of a 0-0 draw with Newcastle.
Manchester United have kept three clean sheets during that time and speaking after their commanding display against Spurs, pundit Owen Hargreaves claimed Casemiro is now undroppable.
Hargreaves played for Man Utd between 2007-11 in the same position as Casemiro. Few know more about the holding midfield role than the former England international.
Hargreaves told Premier League Productions Casemiro will not be removed from Ten Hag’s starting eleven, and claimed he forms part of a quartet who can stifle opposition attacks.
Casemiro part of formidable Man Utd foundation
“Eriksen needs a rest, he’s played virtually every game,” said Hargreaves (via the Manchester Evening News).
“Casemiro is the one that’s going to come and stay, he’s going to play all the time.
“(Lisandro) Martinez with (Raphael) Varane and Casemiro in front with (David) de Gea… that four seems like a really solid block.
“I think if they can keep clean sheets with the attacking players they have… I know Ronaldo didn’t start, didn’t come on and didn’t come off the bench and wasn’t happy about it.
“[But] the point is the team looked really settled [against Tottenham], defending, in possession and attacking so that bodes well.”
Question marks over one of the four
A Martinez-Varane partnership has a little bit of everything and the pair cover each other’s weaknesses well.
Casemiro remains one of world football’s finest midfield destroyers. His ability to thwart counter attacks and stifle opposition playmakers will play a big part in helping Ten Hag’s side overwhelm their opponents – as they did against Spurs.
Question marks remain over the long-term future of David de Gea, however.
Ten Hag is understood to favour a goalkeeper with better distribution. Indeed, a manager who wants his side to dominate the ball can’t carry a goalkeeper who struggles to retain possession.
FC Porto’s Diogo Costa has been heavily linked and if signed, could become the world’s most expensive goalkeeper.
But for now at least, De Gea is doing little wrong. United’s recent results are a clear indication of that.