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Talking Tactics: Casemiro cashing in on attacking freedom
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Mitchell Fretton

Commanding midfielder Casemiro has been revered for his defensive ability for over a decade but is now finding himself providing more goals and assists under Erik ten Hag.

Manchester United's Brazilian powerhouse has 13 goal contributions in all competitions this season and scored a spectacular bicycle kick at Bournemouth last weekend.

As the Red Devils look to confirm their Champions League qualification with a point against Chelsea tonight, we take a look at how Casemiro's attacking game has developed.

Attacking freedom

Ten Hag's style of play involves a high press and controlled possession, meaning Casemiro has the license to occupy positions further up the pitch.

The ex-Real Madrid star can often be seen running beyond the forwards as he attempts to win the ball back for his side and when they do have possession he lingers on the edge of the box to stop any counter-attack.

But more often than not, the 70-cap Selecao international receives the ball in a dangerous position and can unleash a strike on goal.

Casemiro has tried his luck 29 times in the Premier League and only four other United players have had more shooting efforts.

Nine have hit the target and three have found the back of the net which is two more than the midfielder managed for Los Blancos last term.

All three of Casemiro's Premier League goals have come from inside of the penalty area
All three of Casemiro's Premier League goals have come from inside of the penalty area

Silence the doubters

Former Tottenham and Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood was one of many who were sceptical about Casemiro's ability to play in the Premier League.

However, the pundit has admitted he was wrong and praised the 31-year-old's all-round game, saying: "I thought he's come to Man Utd to fill the till up. He's done everything at Real Madrid he can't possibly have the hunger.

"I was so wrong, so wrong.

"When that equaliser he scored at Stamford Bridge went in, you saw the way he celebrated with United fans, from that moment onwards I knew this boy was the real deal.

"He's incredible. He puts out fires, any sort of danger he puts it out, but he can also play."

Delicate touch

Casemiro's shooting is not all that has improved since his move to England.

The five-time Champions League winner has also chipped in with assists and his range of passing has vastly improved under Ten Hag.

Compared to last season at the Bernabeu, United's No18 has attempted more crosses (19) and through balls (10).

And while he may have lower passing accuracy and fewer passes completed, Casemiro cannot be discouraged from playing more risky balls and creating as many chances as he did with the LaLiga giants.

Only four other United players have completed more passes than the midfield maestro and only Bruno Fernandes has provided more through balls.

Casemiro has been a midfield general for Manchester United
Casemiro has been a midfield general for Manchester United

Manager's love

Ten Hag has been nothing but complimentary of his summer signing and admitted that his expectations have been exceeded.

The former Ajax boss said: "I think he keeps surprising us, Casemiro. He's such a brilliant football player.

"We know him as a very good organiser, positioning, anticipating, intercepting a lot of balls, winning duels, fighting, keeping the team together.

"But also in possession, his passing, his distribution, but also finishing. He's just a great football player.

"We are happy we found him and his contribution is massive."

Casemiro is contracted at Old Trafford until 2026 and will look to push on even further as United aim to challenge their Manchester rivals City for the title in the coming seasons.


Premier LeagueManchester UnitedCasemiro
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