Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag must make a decision on Casemiro, who faces missing Sunday’s game against Arsenal if he receives a yellow card in midweek.
United is the only team to have defeated Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal in the league this season, triumphing 3-1 at Old Trafford in September. They are nine points behind the league leaders ahead of the trip to the Emirates Stadium, but they must first get through a game against Crystal Palace.
If Casemiro receives his fifth yellow card of the season against Selhurst Park on Wednesday, he will be suspended for one game. However, the scenario is exacerbated by the fact that Fred, who might replace his colleague if he is rested, is also one yellow card away from suspension.
Casemiro, who joined from Real Madrid in a £60 million summer transfer, has developed into an important member of Ten Hag’s squad after being eased into first-team play. However, the tough-tackling midfielder hasn’t completely avoided controversy, picking up two yellow cards in United games prior to the World Cup and two subsequently, including going into the book as his club won the Manchester Derby on Saturday.
Fred hasn’t always been a mainstay in the starting lineup, but he got his first league start since October against Manchester City. Both midfielders received yellow cards late in the game, Fred in the 88th minute and Casemiro in the 89th.
United might rest both players against Palace, enabling Scott McTominay to start and utilizing Bruno Fernandes in a deeper role than he did on Saturday. The midweek game is the final one in which a Manchester United player would be punished for a fifth booking of the season; after the halfway point of the season, yellow card sanctions apply solely to players with 10 bookings.
A win over Crystal Palace would propel United to second place, at least for the time being. Manchester City, however, might overtake them on Thursday when they meet Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium.
“We have improved, that is apparent,” United manager Ten Hag stated after his team came from behind to win the derby thanks to goals from Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford. “There is still a long way to go but we have a lot of elements 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 realize that our game has a lot to improve. It can’t be that we’re losing so much control of the game after halftime.”