Three things we learned as Man United are humiliated in 4-0 battering at the hands of Crystal Palace

Manchester United went to Selhurst Park to take on an impressive Crystal Palace team in an attempt to move over the disappointing draw against Burnley and increase their chances of making it into the Europa League.

In keeping with United’s terrible luck this season, Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes were ruled out of the match due to injury.

With Diogo Dalot, Casemiro, Jonny Evans, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka in a defensive four ahead of him, Erik ten Hag began Andre Onana in goal.

The Dutchman used Mason Mount, Christian Eriksen, and Kobbie Mainoo in midfield.

Rasmus Hojlund led the line with Alejandro Garnacho and Antony flanking him on the left and right wings respectively. Here are three things we learned from Manchester United’s 4-0 loss vs. Crystal Palace.

Casemiro a liability at centre-back

Amidst United’s injury crisis, Casemiro has in recent games been forced to play at the heart of the backline and he was once again used on that part of the pitch against Palace.

To say the Brazilian was exposed would be an understatement. His fingerprints were all over at least three of Palace’s four goals.

For the first goal, Casemiro abandoned his position and drifted into the middle of the park. He recklessly dived into a tackle in an effort to take the ball away from Michael Olise, but the Frenchman easily evaded him to completely take him out of the game. Olise then ran towards Onana’s goal and expertly found the bottom corner.

For Jean-Philippe Mateta’s goal, Casemiro was once again dragged into midfield and left Evans all alone and isolated at the back. Mateta produced a fine piece of skill to beat Evans before firing a powerful shot that beat Onana.

Casemiro was also at fault for Palace’s fourth and Olise’s double in the second half. His casual handling of the ball near the corner flag saw him easily dispossessed before the ball was fed to Olise. The Palace forward made no mistake as he curled the ball into the back of the United net, past the reach of a helpless Onana.

Despite having less possession, Palace deserved their victory as they were significantly the better team. They created the most chances and posed the greatest danger.

Beyond his defensive lapses that cost the Red Devils, Casemiro’s passing – as has been mostly the case this term – was erratic and he often failed to find a teammate.

The Palace attackers found plenty of joy down Casemiro’s side as he was either out of position or just not proactive enough to snuff out danger.

The 32-year-old is also susceptible to being beaten during races as he’s lost one or two yards of pace with age. It’s clear that playing Casemiro at centre-back has little benefit, if any. United would be best served by restoring him to a more familiar role in central defensive midfield.

Ahead of the game against Arsenal this weekend, Ten Hag will be hoping that a few players currently recovering from physical setbacks make their returns to action so that he’s not forced to have Casemiro in the backline.

Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze should be at the top of United’s summer transfer wishlist

Olise and Eze are reportedly targets for Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS ahead of the summer transfer window – they showed why they’re so highly rated against United tonight.

Beyond his goals for the South London outfit, Olise was a constant thorn in the backside of the United defence. His class shone throughout the match. He displayed moments of brilliance in the way he cleverly danced around with the ball at his feet.

Olise kept the ball well even under pressure and never seemed fazed. The 22-year-old could have had more goals to his name. A cut-back in the first half from Mitchell found him on his favoured left foot but luckily for United, Onana was alive to it and came up with a good save.

The Palace winger linked up well with Eze, a formidable partnership that Ten Hag’s men struggled to deal with.

Eze, who United have also been linked with, was fantastic in midfield and showed United exactly what they’re missing. He found it very easy to get about the pitch due to his amazing dribbling and quick feet.

After the break, the England international had two big chances to find the back of the net. One was saved by Onana while the other went just wide.

The duo’s talent is undeniable and based on their respective displays at Selhurst Park, they’re certainly ready to make the jump to a club like United. The 20-time English champions could do with players of their skill set and abilities. In addition to this, they’re Premier League-proven and young. They still have plenty of room for improvement. United should do everything in their power to ensure they’re playing at Old Trafford next season.

No merit in keeping Ten Hag any longer, owners must pull the trigger now

Since Ratcliffe and INEOS walked through the door, it has been repeatedly mentioned that they’ll delay their final decision on the manager until the end of the season. The new owners have been undertaking a thorough audit of the club to identify areas of improvement.

With this in mind, it’s becoming increasingly clear with each passing game that United need to part ways with Ten Hag. In yet another game, United were poor and were humiliated by perceived lesser opponents.

Palace were first to everything and it’s mostly down to Oliver Glasner, who arrived just a few weeks ago as a replacement for Roy Hodgson. In such a short space of time, Palace look like a new side with a clear style of play – something Ten Hag has been unable to implement since he took charge in 2022.

United continue to be poor and it doesn’t get any easier. Up next is Arsenal and then Newcastle before facing Brighton on the final day of the season. There is then the small matter of an FA Cup final against Manchester City. With such a run of fixtures and on current form, it’s very difficult to see where United will get their next win from.

Ten Hag has of course not been aided by constantly-occurring injuries to his key players and an incompetent structure above him but he has also not helped his own cause. There’s nothing to suggest that United would be the subject of a change of fortunes if he’s given more time and money to spend. Even worse are the excuses he gives in press conferences and interviews.

INEOS would be making a big statement by letting him go immediately rather than prolonging the inevitable. With other European giants also on the hunt for managers, United risk missing out on their desired targets by continuing to keep Ten Hag. At the very least, fans should be given clarity and assured that he won’t be in charge next season.

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