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Man United: Casemiro was “unreal” in Bournemouth triumph

Manchester United recorded their fourth successive Premier League win with a victory over Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening, with the Red Devils having been in impressive form following the World Cup break.

Erik ten Hag’s side have now moved to within just a point of rivals Manchester City in second while also opening up a five-point lead on fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, with Champions League qualification firmly on the agenda at present.

The hosts had got off to the best possible start on the night as summer signing Casemiro guided in Christian Eriksen’s typically pin-point set-piece, before Luke Shaw then rounded off a stunning team goal just after the break to extend that advantage.

Although United had to weather a brief storm around the hour mark as the Cherries momentarily threatened a comeback, the points were subsequently sealed just minutes from time as Marcus Rashford scored for the third league game running, having been teed up unselfishly by teammate Bruno Fernandes.

That chance had been sparked, however, by a stunning, lofted pass by the aforementioned Shaw to pick out the Portugal international, with the 27-year-old having thrived after being reinstated in his usual left-back berth.

Has Casemiro been Man United's player of the season so far?

Yes, absolutely!

Yes, absolutely!

Not for me!

Not for me!

The Englishman was unsurprisingly awarded an eye-catching 7.9 match rating, as per Sofascore, for that dominant showing, although he was not alone in having sparkled against Gary O’Neil’s men, with Casemiro also proving particularly commanding in his central midfield role.

Not only did the experienced Brazilian net his second top-flight goal of the season in superb fashion, but the former Real Madrid man should also have had an assist to his name after teeing up Anthony Martial with a delightful, sweeping cross, only for the striker to inexplicably fail to convert from close range.

A truly “unreal” performer on the night – in the words of journalist Liam Canning – the 30-year-old dictated the tempo in the centre of the park as he completed 50 of his 59 passes, while also breaking up play effectively and halting any potential counter-attacks after completing four fouls in total.

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The £70m “bargain” – as lauded by journalist Peter Hall – was integral as the home side recorded yet another clean sheet, having now recorded four successive shutouts in all competitions as a marker of the continued resurgence under Ten Hag.

On the evidence of his performance both last night and in recent months, if United are to achieve anything this season then keeping Casemiro – who recorded a solid 7.7 match rating – fit and healthy will surely be imperative.