Tactics: Casemiro, the Redeemer

Arrived at Manchester United at the end of August 2022 for 70 million euros, Casemiro has since established himself as a real taulier of Erik ten Hag. For the first time in four years, the Red Devils have chained eight consecutive victories in all competitions, and the Brazilian is not for nothing. Back on the impact of the Tank before the Manchester derby this Saturday.

When the former Madridista arrived in the north of England, it was hard to imagine the fairy tale he and his family are living in today. After two heavy defeats against Brighton (1-2) and Brentford (4-0) during the first two days of the Premier League, United then seemed closer to the depths than to the renewal embodied by Ten Hag. However, after settling the Cristiano Ronaldo episode and putting a crown back on Marcus Rashford’s head, the Red Devils seem to be reverting to their former formula. An enticing game, impressive results (21 wins in 25 games since the sinking in Brentford), local glories in the headliners and an ever more inspiring coach.

“I consider him the cement of the midfield. » Erik ten Hag

Nevertheless, the change of trajectory of the Mancuniens corresponds particularly to a phenomenon: the integration of Casemiro in the eleven. After having gleaned a few minutes during September to find the rhythm and digest the ideas of his boss, the Brazilian quickly established himself as the safe bet of Old Trafford. Since his first start against Everton in early October, the Tank has started all ten Premier League games played by Manchester. More surprisingly, the defensive midfielder was also decisive. By offering a decisive pass to Cristiano Ronaldo to bury the Toffees (2-1), snatching the equalizer at Stamford Bridge (1-1) against Chelsea or opening the scoring against Bournemouth (3-0) after a timorous start to the match… While he For a long time cataloged as the destructive midfielder of Real Madrid, Casemiro now seems to be turning into a builder, as evidenced by the words of his coach: “I consider him the cement of the midfield. »

Silver Footed Colossus

While he was Toni Kroos and Luka Modrić’s bodyguard in Madrid for 9 years, Casemiro has long had the role of “The Beast” behind “Les Beaux”. After many strong tackles – not always sanctioned – and some sneakiness, the general public seemed to have definitely put the sweeper in the box of duty players. But her burgeoning romance across the Channel seems to put the dots back on the i’s. While these qualities with the ball weren’t always evident in a team that was bursting with talent and where their influence with the ball was relative, some things have changed since Carlos Henrique Casimiro’s arrival at the Theater of Dreams. Aligned alongside Christian Eriksen in the double pivot of the 4-2-3-1 red, the Tank is certainly the first guarantor of the balance of his team, but he is also responsible for facilitating the ball’s exits by picking up between his centrals or using his excellent long game. And it is precisely at this level that his contribution is pharaonic. With 58% of successful long balls on average in the Premier League, Casemiro is one of the most surgical players in the exercise. He is also positioned in the top 6 midfielders in his championship who travel the most distance towards the attack via the pass while he is one of those who touch the most balls in the first third of the field. . His excellent match as quarterback against Charlton in the FA Cup is the best example of this, although he was hardly challenged.


January 10 against Charlton (3-0): Casemiro stands out in order to offer a solution to Wan-Bissaka to stand out…


Before the leather comes to caress his feet, the Brazilian takes in the information of the space he has around him…


He can then take advantage of his freedom to send an exceptional ball to Alejandro Garnacho on the opposite side…


But the Argentinian will unfortunately miss his ball control. A mistake that will doom United’s attack as Rashford looked set to wrap up the move.


A few minutes later, Casemiro is again served low on the pitch. Following Garnacho’s recovery, the former Madrid player scans the space around him…


Before moving in the direction of travel and quickly staring at the opposite, as if the objective was already known in advance – Wan-Bissaka’s early run being an indicator of this will…


He can then serve Facundo Pellistri with a long diagonal, slammed, on the ground…


Who will arrive directly on the Uruguayan who, this time, will be able to offer Marcus Rashford the opportunity to deceive the opposing goalkeeper in a sequence similar to the previous one.

He will certainly never have the quality in a touch of Sergio Busquets or the ease under pressure of Marco Verratti, but Casemiro is now an asset in possession for his partners according to the sequences. And one of them is in his use of the ball on recovery. The Brazilian, who no longer has to prove his defensive abilities, is a real plus for Ten Hag thanks to his use of the ball after stealing it. In a proactive, vertical and vitaminized team, the midfielder of the Premier League fourth regularly works to distribute a number of key passes a few seconds after setting foot on the leather. A faculty which offers as many possibilities to Manchester to be dangerous in transitions as to fill the statistical quota of Casemiro, which culminates in two goals and two assists in the league so far.


At Everton on October 9 (1-2): Casemiro recovers the ball from Alex Iwobi’s feet…


Quickly, with a touch, the Brazilian seeks verticality to launch a red transition…


The ball is then perfectly dosed, in the right space. At the end of his race, Cristiano Ronaldo will offer the advantage to Manchester.


During the reception of Nottingham Forest on December 27 (3-0): Casemiro springs into the feet of his vis-à-vis to intercept the ball…


Before shifting Fred perfectly into the box two seconds later…


Who will bring the mark to 3-0.

Body and soul

Seventh player who tackles the most in the Premier League this season with 45 slips made – having played fewer minutes than his competitors -, Casemiro is above all a protector. The one who represents perhaps the most emblematic defensive midfielder of the last decade has naturally carried all his defensive paraphernalia in his luggage. If the Tank perfectly masters its 185 centimeter high and 84 kilogram heavy body, it is also a vehicle that moves better than the others. Responsible for the cover of the sides – which he already did very well at Real Madrid – in a team that inevitably opens up breaches for his opponents, the Brazilian is reliable when it comes to putting out fires that could ignite his surface.


Facing Nottingham Forest, Aaron Wan-Bissaka is obliged to go out on the carrier on the right side. As a result, Taiwo Awoniyi took the opportunity to escape behind the English side. As Raphaël Varane stops to try to put the Nigerian striker out of play, cover must be provided by Casemiro…


Despite falling behind, the Brazilian manages to tear himself away to prevent the ball from reaching the box, as Brennan Johnson looked set to push the ball deep.


A few tens of minutes later, again, on the other side this time. Tyrell Malacia is caught behind his back, and Luke Shaw is too far from the carrier in addition to having to defend the Nottingham striker behind his back…


The defensive midfielder is therefore working again to protect his base.

But beyond his physical impact and moderate brutality, Casemiro has rare situational intelligence. Reinforced by his enormous experience, the environment is endowed with a very accurate rapid analysis capacity which regularly offers him the possibility of taking the most optimal decision to try to reduce the danger which is looming. In a team that likes to defend while advancing and inevitably concedes space at the back, his ability to make the right choice is an invaluable asset.


Against Everton in the FA Cup on January 6 (3-1): Eriksen is stripped of the ball. Then begins a counter-attack for the Toffees led by Iwobi who will hurry to gain meters with the ball at his feet…


While he might be tempted to step back to cover Demarai Gray’s run on the right side, Casemiro, knowing he was covered, appears on the pass line to try to intercept the leather…


And recovers the ball, much to Iwobi’s dismay.


Against Bournemouth on January 3 (3-0), a new transition to manage for the Tank. This time, it serves as the ultimate rampart following the release of Victor Lindelöf on Kieffer Moore…


As the last defender, he knows that if eliminated, he could offer a huge situation to his opponents. He therefore decides to step back to manage the counter led by Solanke…


At first, he orients himself in such a way as to defend the interval between him and Lindelöf to short-circuit the displacement of Moore…


Before changing support and orientation in his race to cover the opportunity that Jaidon Anthony inherits. Disturbed by the return of the Brazilian, the Englishman will not fit his attempt.

If they win against Manchester City this Saturday at Old Trafford, the Red Devils could come back to within a small point of their opponent of the afternoon. While he had only played 30 short minutes in the incredible first leg (6-3), the Tank will undoubtedly have a crucial role this time against Pep Guardiola’s squad. But at a time when the Citizens seem slightly less flamboyant than usual, Casemiro will be keen to confirm his status as a redeemer.

By Matthias Ribeiro

Leave a Comment