Jamie Redknapp has blasted a moment of madness which cost Manchester United in their 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
The build up to the game was very much centred around Wout Weghorst making his Man Utd debut, and the Dutchman started up front with Anthony Martial given a rest to recover from injury.
Weghorst played 69 minute before coming off in what was a pretty quiet debut, with 28 touches
(fewer than any Man Utd outfield starter), and one shot. But, Bruno Fernandes stepped up in his place and for some time looked to be the match-winner.
Last season there was a lot of criticism on Fernandes and what appeared to be a waning influence on the Man Utd side, compared to his start to life at Old Trafford. And although he still ended the season with 10 goals and six assists, Fernandes is having a bigger impact now that a certain compatriot is out the side.
Getting used to the way Erik ten Hag wants him to play, Fernandes has been directly involved in seven goals in the Premier League this season, scoring four (0.24 per 90 minutes) and providing three assists (0.18 per 90).
Of those seven goal involvements, four have come in Fernandes’ past four Premier League matches – one in each. Games against Wolves and Bournemouth brought an assist each before Fernandes scored the equaliser in Man Utd’s 2-1 win over Manchester City at the weekend.
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And then, on Wednesday night, another goal came in the 44th minute against Crystal Palace following a nice run and cut back from Christian Eriksen. Fernandes was afforded far too much time and space inside the Palace box to make his shot, but he still had to pull off a neat finish to beat the defender trying to block and Vicente Guaita.
However, Fernandes would later play his part in something which Jamie Redknapp believes turned the tide of the game. The Portuguese midfielder pulled out of a tackle with 10 minutes to go, which led to Casemiro fouling Wilfried Zaha just outside the area.
It was Casemiro’s fifth yellow card of the season, meaning he will miss Sunday’s trip to face Premier League leaders Arsenal. And Redknapp thinks Man Utd’s momentum dropped after that moment.
“From Man Utd’s point of view, it just couldn’t have gone any worse,” Redknapp said on Sky Sports.
“We spoke before the game about Casemiro, don’t get a yellow card, don’t get booked, don’t get in any real confrontations. He’s so important that they need him on Sunday.
“He gets booked in the 80th minute and it was as if, from that moment, it completely took the steam out of Manchester United. It affected them so much, they almost knew their talisman, their most important player in that defensive role, had gone.
“It was a bit of a moment of madness, you can see he was furious with his teammate Bruno Fernandes, he jumps out of a challenge and that is ended up why he gets booked.
“I mean, it could have been a red card, it was a scandalous challenge. I can just see Mikel Arteta when that happened, dancing around his living room because that is so important. They have got no one that can do what he does in the team.”
As the game went into injury time, Palace were awarded another free-kick on the right, and Michael Olise struck it fantastically, beating David de Gea who had been excellent throughout the match.
Palace even had an opportunity to win it but Man Utd were saved by a great Aaron Wan-Bissaka tackle on Zaha. The Red Devils moved up to third with the win but saw their nine-match winning run across all competitions come to an end.