Wednesday evening went rapidly downhill for Manchester United and their fans in a very short spell of time.
Erik ten Hag's side were 1-0 up away from home against Crystal Palace and seemed to be on their way to a tenth consecutive victory, something the club hasn't done since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
Not only was getting the three points to keep the pressure on Arsenal and Manchester City vital, but United also wanted to ensure they did not see Casemiro get booked, as that would lead to a suspension for the match against Arsenal at the weekend.
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Casemiro receives his yellow
The overall performance from United was uninspiring with the second half providing very little in the way of chances for either team. With around 10 minutes to play, Crystal Palace began to commit more players forward and that's what caught Casemiro out.
After receiving a loose pass from Bruno Fernandes, Casemiro had to bring a runner down as he headed towards the 18-yard box and the referee had no choice but to hand out a yellow card. The tackle was arguably closer to a red than yellow and Casemiro did not protest at all.
That is the Brazilian's fifth yellow card of the season in the Premier League which means he is suspended for the match against league leaders Arsenal on Sunday. The Gunners can go 11 points ahead of United with a game in hand if they win at the Emirates.
They would have only been able to get nine points ahead had Michael Olise not thundered in an incredible free-kick in the 91st minute of the game at Selhurst Park to make it 1-1. It will likely be the goal of the month for January and could be a contender for the goal of the season.
Ten Hag and the United players looked bereft as the final whistle sounded.
When will Casemiro be back for United?
Missing the Arsenal game is a major blow for Casemiro but, as Ten Hag pointed out after the match, United beat Arsenal without Casemiro earlier in the campaign and now they need to do it again. That game ended 3-1 at Old Trafford but Arsenal looked menacing for much of it.
“He’s a really important player for us and a reason we’re in this position,” Ten Hag told BBC Sport. “But last time we beat Arsenal without Casemiro. We need to do it again. We’re winning, controlling the game and an unlucky moment. We don’t have time to react. We have to take that and move on and make the best plan for Arsenal.”
It will be some time before United fans can watch Casemiro in the Premier League again because the game after Arsenal is away at Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup semi-final. That is followed by the FA Cup fourth-round tie with Reading.
February kicks off with the second leg against Forest at Old Trafford, so Casemiro's next Premier League game will come against - get this - Crystal Palace on February 4.
It is assumed either Fred or Scott McTominay will take the place of Casemiro against Arsenal. Neither will be able to perform at his level, though. He has played 76% of United's Premier League minutes this season and has been the definition of consistency.
Source : 90min