You could hear the collective gasp at Selhurst Park when Casemiro lunged into a late challenge on Crystal Palace dangerman Wilfried Zaha. Manchester United supporters were in fine voice throughout their trip to South London for what was a hastily rearranged midweek Premier League match.
But for one moment, perhaps two, they were stunned into silence. They knew what was coming.
Casemiro had, once again, patrolled the engine room with ease and United appeared to be heading to their 10th straight victory in all competitions, with an impending showdown with Arsenal delicately poised. But then – within 10 chaotic minutes – the balance was seemingly tipped in favour of the table-topping Gunners.
Zaha brushed off the mud and rubbed his hands over the stud marks left by Casemiro from a crunching tackle that has been a hallmark of his game for more than a decade. However, for once, the Brazil powerhouse who has added so much in his short time at Old Trafford had let United down.
Worse was to come a few minutes later as Michael Olise fired an unstoppable free-kick beyond David de Gea into the top corner. Only a special strike was going to beat the Spaniard amid another inspired performance
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