Manchester United midfielder Casemiro is “sweating on his place” ahead of next weekend’s derby against City, according to GiveMeSport journalist Steve Bates.
The Brazilian international missed the 2-1 win over Sheffield United at the weekend after picking up an ankle injury on international duty.
However, if Casemiro is available for Sunday’s game, there is a chance that manager Erik ten Hag will keep him on the bench for one of the most important fixtures of the season.
Concerns about the 31-year-old’s form have snowballed since the start of the campaign and, with Sofyan Amrabat and Scotti McTominay having looked like a decent midfield partnership at Bramall Lane, there is a case for dropping Casemiro.
Casemiro’s decline this season
You only have to look at the numbers to see that the midfielder is a pale shadow of the player he was during his first year at Old Trafford.
During the 2022/23 season, Casemiro averaged 5.21 tackles and interceptions per 90 minutes. That has dropped to 3.61 per 90 since August.
When we look at recovering loose balls, the Brazilian is averaging 5.97 per 90 (down from 8.69 last year).
Has the United star lost his legs?
Those statistics paint a picture of someone who is simply not able to get around the pitch as much as he used to. Some have already suggested that Casemiro doesn’t have the energy to rack up the defensive numbers that he has recorded in previous seasons.
While you would expect him to decline gradually, the sudden drop-off is surprising and fans will be hoping that the midfielder, who cost £70m when he arrived from Real Madrid last summer, can rediscover his form in the coming weeks.
Based on his recent performances, though, ten Hag may feel that he has no choice but to drop him for the derby.