Erik ten Hag calls out inconsistent officiating after Casemiro red card
By James Ducker at Old Trafford
A guttural roar greeted the final whistle at Old Trafford and with good reason. Manchester United had to dig deep for this win, their 13th in succession at home and best run for 12 years at a famous old stadium slowly rediscovering fortress status secured courtesy of another match-winning goal from Marcus Rashford but boy did victory come at a cost. Erik ten Hag’s complaints about the inconsistent use of Var had more than a whiff of legitimacy after a deeply frustrating past week for the United manager.
But Casemiro, a five-time Champions League winner and one of the game’s most experienced midfielders, should have known better to lay his hands on an opponent and earn a red card for violent conduct that left his team-mates scrambling to preserve three precious points, and now facing the next three matches without his influential presence.
Unless United opt to appeal and are successful, Casemiro will now miss the back to back games against Leeds next week and the visit of Leicester which, on the back of the loss of Christian Eriksen, represents a severe setback for Ten Hag.
United were 2-0 up and cruising against Crystal Palace when Jeffrey Schlupp sparked a 20-man melee by sending Antony careering into the perimeter boards with a borderline challenge.
Coming just days after Eriksen had been ruled out for three months following a dreadful tackle by Andy Carroll during an FA Cup tie against Reading last weekend, it was understandable that emotions would be running high among United players concerned about the heavy-handed treatment of another team-mate.
Still, there was no excuse for Casemiro grabbing Will Hughes by the throat with two hands and, after referee Andre Marriner was referred to the pitchside monitor by the Var Tony Harrington, a red card was inevitable. Ten Hag, in fairness, admitted Casemiro had “crossed the line” but his grievances were two-fold: one, that Jordan Ayew had not also been dismissed for similar behaviour during the bust-up when he grabbed Fred by the throat. And that officials are not offering players more protection. The United manager was almost as angry here with Schlupp’s challenge on Antony as Carroll’s lunge from behind on Eriksen.
“We have to think about [whether we appeal], Ten Hag said. “We have seen when you're freezing the shot, Casemiro is crossing the line. But many more players [are] crossing the line.
“That [the Ayew incident] was one of the players who did even worse than Casemiro. He's crossing the line there. You have to be consistent as a VAR and last week we missed Christian Eriksen by a bad foul that had no VAR interference. [In the 1-1 draw at Palace Jean-Philippe] Mateta elbows Martinez and he is running now running around with this [bandage] on his head and the Var was not interfering.”
Asked if Ayew should have been sent off, Ten Hag added: “Definitely. That’s what we’re talking about.
“You have to control your emotions but I saw two teams fighting each other and I saw two teams of players crossing the line and one player gets picked out, sent off, and that's not right.
“The player from Crystal Palace [Schlupp] takes a big risk with this foul. It's more the point when everything is about consistency but you don't want to lose players and colleagues are hurting each other that bad like the player last week against Eriksen. And the player from Palace [Schlupp] started this, he took a big risk by injuring Antony.”
On the upside, Ten Hag was pleased with how his side managed the final 20 minutes. Palace pulled a goal back when Schlupp - of all people - turned in Cheick Oumar Doucoure’s miscued shot but Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez defended heroically and, ahead of them, Fred was excellent and deadline day loan signing, Marcel Sabitzer, also equipped himself well in the final 10 minutes after coming on.
It should never have got so hairy, though. United got off to a flyer when Bruno Fernandes scored from the penalty spot after Hughes was ruled to have handled Rashford’s cross after Marriner, not for the first time, was directed to the pitchside monitor by the Var.
United were largely in control but needed to pick up the tempo and Alejandro Garnacho’s arrival shortly before the hour brought a sharp uplift. Garnacho was involved in the second goal, the ball moved at pace from right to left to Luke Shaw, who drilled in a low cross that Rashford turned home for his 11th goal in 13 games.
Despite Casemiro’s lapse and a frantic finish, it would prove enough to secure the victory but time will tell at what cost this win came.
Manchester United 2 Crystal Palace 1 – as it happened:
Luke Shaw speaks
[We're] really happy. A massive three points, I think, especially under the circumstances, in the last 20 minutes, it was really tough but we showed character, we showed resilience, to win this game in the end.
I think we feed off that energy from the fans. They've been amazing and today, tough times, especially with 10 men, we feed off that. We fight to the end, we didn't want to lose these points, and I think it showed.
Full time: Manchester United 2 Crystal Palace 1
United can breathe a long sigh of relief that they were able to take the win at home today, after Casemiro's red card seemed to entirely derail an afternoon that had previously seemed in safe hands.
Palace will feel hard done by, but very rarely showed the necessary quality to claim even a draw on the road.
90+8 min: Manchester United 2 Crystal Palace 1
Olise fires into a crowded penalty area, but his effort to cross is too high and wild, and Vieira on the sidelines turns from the spectacle with frustration.
De Gea bides his time with his goal kick, firing towards his manager, as far as I can tell. Rashford can pick up the ball and skitter down the left, but Guaita in no time is driving the ball up the pitch.
Olise sends in one last cross, which only Martinez can get to and clear. He has shone for a topsy-turvy United today. After a Palace player strays offside in their next attack, the United fans erupt. Surely it's over now?
With a final kick from De Gea, it is.
90+5 min: Manchester United 2 Crystal Palace 1
Shaw draws out a throw-in, running down the clock, as Palace desperately seek to get away. Palace flood forward as they make their way up the pitch, as United clog up the attacking half.
90+2 min: Manchester United 2 Crystal Palace 1
Palace continue to keep pressure up, determined to take full control of the extra time. Olise sneaks into the box from the right, floating the ball towards the pack, but Richards tussling with Rashford just north of D gives away a freekick.
Rashford stays down momentarily, before being pulled up by his team-mates.
89 min: Manchester United 2 Crystal Palace 1
Martinez pulls off another heroic spell of defending as Palace look to wreak havoc from the right.
Olise sets up Clyne, looking to push through, but Sabitzer intervenes before they can get too close. But moments later, he concedes a freekick, which Palace set up to take in the middle of the United half.
Seven minutes added time!
87 min: Manchester United 2 Crystal Palace 1
The freekick is sent in, and United's scrambled defence is cheered wildly as Palace look far too close for comfort.
In the dug-out, the substitute Garnacho looks extremely dejected to have been hooked.
85 min: Manchester United 2 Crystal Palace 1
Rashford tumbles in the penalty area, but Marriner immediately waves away calls for a penalty. Palace scarcely notice as they force play up the field. There are more than one or two concerned faces in the stands at Old Trafford as Mateta sets off in the box chasing a high, looping ball.
Shaw concedes a freekick after tugging on the shirt of Olise as they parry at the corner flag, but United make a few changes: Garnarcho and Wan-Bissaka off, for Lindelof and Maguire, before things restart.
83 min: Manchester United 2 Crystal Palace 1
Palace have been running riot since Casemiro's red card, and next Olise steps up looking to break through to the right of the box. Shaw stares him down, one-on-one, and comes off the better.
Two more changes for Palace, Ahamada and Mateta for Schlupp and Doucoure.
81 min: Manchester United 2 Crystal Palace 1
Sabitzer makes his debut, coming on for Antony. His experience should, Ten Hag will hope, provide a bit of necessary ship-steadying.
GOAL!!! Manchester United 2 Crystal Palace 1
Olise sends in a whippy corner which Guehi leaps to head towards De Gea's goal, and he's forced to claw the ball out after an extremely close call.
With a second chance, the ball is sent in to the pack, shooting straight out. But Schlupp is in the perfect position at close range to nick the ball past De Gea when it's sent back into the fracas – and it's game on for Palace!
More, from Ducker:
Been a bad six minutes for United. Casemiro off and now Palace score, Schlupp – who sparked that melee that led to Casemiro's dismissal with his challenge on Antony – steering home Doucoure's miscued shot. Palace sense an opportunity here, United look a bit rattled.
Ducker on Casemiro's sending off
Casemiro has been sent off. Now facing a three match ban that would rule him out of both Leeds games next week and Leicester. Coming on the back of Christian Eriksen being ruled out for three months through injury, that's a huge loss for United. A 20-man melee was sparked after Schlupp sent Antony flying into the perimeter boards and stood looking over him.
All manner of pushing and shoving ensued with Casemiro shoving Schlupp and Antony barging into him but the Var ordered a check for a red card after spotting footage of Casemiro grabbing Will Hughes by the throat. Marriner consulted the pitchside monitor and then brandished the red. Ten Hag looked furious, but you can't grab someone like that.
72 min: Manchester United 2 Crystal Palace 0
An opening change for Palace after United go down to 10 men: Lokonga makes his club debut, on for Ayew.
70 min: Manchester United 2 Crystal Palace 0
A red card investigation is opened by Var, and there's an incredibly nasty-looking replay which shows Casemiro appearing to wrap his hands around Hughes' neck.
Marriner sprints over to the monitor... Casemiro gets a straight red. Utterly pointless involvement from Casemiro.
67 min: Manchester United 2 Crystal Palace 0
A challenge on Antony sparks wildfire on the right wing, as both teams en masse jostle and scrap. Upon review, the coming together with Schlupp looks natural, and both Schlupp and Antony pick up a yellow. Antony waves this off with the barest of smirks.
Ducker on that sumptuous second
2-0 to United. Worked the ball left to right at pace through Antony, Wan-Bissaka, Casemiro and Garnacho to Luke Shaw. Drilled in low cross, Rashford opens up his body and sidefoots beneath diving Guaita. Ten Hag's change has paid dividends
GOAL!!! Manchester United 2 Crystal Palace 0
A desperately-needed second, from Mr Reliable – Rashford gives United their goal!
He's perfectly placed, after Shaw picks up on the left of the box, and sends a skimming cross to his team-mate, hovering on the edge of the six-yard box. A supremely confident strike outsmarts Guaita, and he peels away to celebrate!
Some chat about his being marginally offside is snuffed out moments later. Rashford cannot be touched for form, at present.
60 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
United make their first substitute, as Weghorst is swapped for Garnacho. Weghorst looks rankled, shaking his head as he makes his exit.
As per James Ducker:
Garnacho is on, Rashford moved from the left to the middle. Weghorst off. United need to raise the tempo here. Palace waiting for that one lapse to break
58 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
Fernandes goes down, after going in for a hefty challenge on Mitchell and getting caught beneath him. He stays down as play halts, treated on the pitch by his medics.
Once he reaches the sidelines, play is waved on, and he quickly joins his team-mates, edging forward once again.
56 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
A strong chance for United as Rashford raises his arm, looking for a long diagonal pass on the edge of the box. He picks it up with a gorgeous touch en route in, drops his shoulder, and fires at Guaita, but his shot just skims wide.
54 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
Fred, level with his corner flag, manages to slide the ball away at the last and fire the ball up the pitch. But Palace are looking feisty now, giving the United defence more and more to think about – certainly more than they did in the first half already.
52 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
Schlupp is the next to escape down the left, with Edouard providing the necessary support. He fires at De Gea's goal, with a hazy angle, and claims a corner off some United defending.
The ball fails to meet the pack in front of goal, but Palace continue to buzz around the edge of the Palace box.
Ducker on Martinez
He's a very good one-on-one defender is Lisandro Martinez. Odsonne Edouard running in from the Palace left. Martinez just slows him up, gives Varane time to get back in and help then Martinez nicks ball away near byline. He's made a big difference in central defence for United since signing.
48 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
United look contemplative here, holding on to the ball, but not breaking into Palace territory. After a spell at the back, the ball is shot with a long-range path to Antony, who looks to break through the gap on the right. He's pushed back, and Palace can set up a breakaway, with Edouard slipping through the defences to bother United on the edge of the box. Martinez puts in a last-ditch defensive effort when he spots the Palace player eyeing De Gea's net.
46 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
United make early ground in the Palace half, with Rashford sending in a close-cut cross for a running Weghorst in the box, but Guehi is just ahead of the player, and puts in a crucial block.
Here come the players
Palace out first, with the home side in hot pursuit. No changes as of yet in for the second half.
We should be back underway in the next few moments.
James Ducker's half-time thoughts
Not a half anyone will want to watch back in a hurry. United have been in complete control but Ten Hag will want to see more attacking threat and there was a warning late in the first half with De Gea having to dive low to left to tip aside Schlupp's drive. Var and Andre Marriner got the handball/penalty call correct and Fernandes took the spotkick very calmly. Memories of the late sucker bench at Selhurst Park will doubtless be in Ten Hag's mind and he'll want that second goal. Palace have been fairly obdurate but haven't kept the ball well enough and find themselves squeezed.
45+2 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
Clyne sends in a ball to De Gea's gloves, and he can spark the next United attack,. Antony unleashes, frustrating Mitchell who tries to reclaim the ball, but pulls him down and is given a yellow card for his troubles.
United also have a freekick from a good-looking area, just ahead of the box, but they can only claim a corner from it. Less still from that, but as the whistle blows, they head into the dressing rooms with the lead.
45 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
Two minutes to be added before the break.
44 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
Palace don't make much of the following corner, but enjoy some possession on the edge of the box before United force them back. Palace haven't given United much to chew on defensively, but when they have, they haven't looked entirely impenetrable.
42 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
Fernandes lofts a ball into the box for Fred, who heistates before cutting back to Rashford, who has a good-looking shot which just flies out of play.
At the other end, Schlupp creates Palace's first important threat from very little, splitting the pitch on a run that takes him to the edge of the box, where he fires at De Gea, forcing a powerful save.
40 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
Schlupp, cutting through the centre, finds Olise, who has once again positioned himself well. He sends in a whipped cross which is blocked out for a corner. Olise's ball is a shade too high to find Richards' head, and he headers it over the crossbar.
38 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
Olise through the middle sends a clever ball to the left of the box, where it is crossed in with the intention of finding a waiting Ayew, but Shaw pulls off a well-meaning block which neutralises the Palace attack.
36 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
Weghorst picks up a long pass on the left edge of the box from Rashford, and he picks out Fred at the near post. He leathers it as goal, but the angle is inopportune, and the ball can't find its intended target.
34 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
Olise picks up the ball inside the box and looks to slide the ball past De Gea, but he's rebuffed. Mitchell has a chance from the left, but the Spanish goalkeeper leaves his line to gather up the ball.
32 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
Fernandes sends a long, diagonal ball to Shaw, who sets up Rashford, but after he passes off, looking to find a team-mate in front of goal, United are smothered by the white-shirts of Palace.
30 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
United have had seven attempts, to Palace's zero, and again the United defence defangs a Palace attack with ease, before rolling play up the pitch.
Rashford picks Doucoure's pocket in front of the box, the ball springing up nicely for him to volley, but his effort doesn't trouble Guaita for too long.
28 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
Wan-Bissaka breaks free of Mitchell, tracking him down the right, and he sends a nice forwards-moving cross to Fred in the box, but his team-mate cannot quite catch the ball.
Rashford is next to terrorise Guaita, steam-rollering into the box to pull off a ball from Fernandes that forces the goalkeeper into a straightforward save. Moments later, Antony sends in a curved effort from just outside the box, but Guaita smothers this, too.
26 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
Casemiro rolls Edouard on the run, drawing the freekick off his opponent, to set Palace up midway inside the United half.
The ball curves too deeply, with De Gea first to the ball. He scoops it up, and sends things United's way once again.
24 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
Edouard floats offside, snuffing out a rare Palace run, and spinning play back to the red-shirted players.
Palace are finding a more rigid shape, and United are starting to have trouble sneaking through. Martinez and Varane paddle the ball between the left and the right, looking for a route through.
22 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
Shaw pulls off another blazing run, ably assisted by Rashford, and wins a corner for his troubles after a Palace block knocks the ball out. Fernandes sends the ball shooting to the first man, but stay clustered around the Palace box.
Fernandes nicks the ball off a Palace defender on the edge of the box, and Palace are forced into some hurried defending. The pressure on the visitors has been almost without respite.
20 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
United counter quickly, Shaw flowing up the field down the left, but as he unleashes for Rashford, the flag goes up, the player having strayed offside.
Casemiro goes down after Mitchell slides into him, yards from the ball. Mitchell narrowly escapes a yellow, as Casemiro twists and turns on the turf.
18 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
Thwarting a burgeoning run from Palace, Antony sneaks the ball on the right to make ground in the visitors' half. Palace snuffs out the attempt, and Schlupp starts to threaten now on the left. He's hacked into by Antony, winning Palace a freekick.
It's well-worked, Palace sneaking through the United lines, and Fernandes is lucky to concede nothing more than a throw-in by the corner flag.
15 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
Casemiro is under fire from Hughes, who tries to nibble the ball on the halfway line, but he can pass at the last to Wan-Bissaka. Fernandes plays to Shaw, who cuts the ball forward for Rashford, but the ball is whipped off him by Ayew. He can make a demi-run down the right, but he's immediately set upon by a flurry of red shirts, and without support, he's kept back.
13 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
A frantic spell for Palace off the back of a crafty United corner, as Guaita is forced into a save at full stretch, but he doesn't grasp the ball, and it springs back out for Varane to force him into another.
Antony has the last word, but Palace can catch their breath only for a few moments before United come again.
More from James Ducker
An example of Var working well. Hughes handles Rashford's cross, Var check and Marriner goes over to pitchside monitor. Easy decision. Fernandes coverts the penalty to give United an early lead
10 min: Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
Antony picks up the ball on the right, and he bypasses Wan-Bissaka to send the ball to Fred. He plays to Fernandes, toying with the Palace defenders on the right. Ayew does his best to try and neutralise the United attack, but the home side look in lively and irrepressible form.
GOAL!!! Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 0
Fernandes steps up, looking to right the wrongs of his last two penalties taken, and this time, does not put a foot wrong. He skips to the ball, with no thought of rushing, and Guaita takes the bait.
The simplest of goals to turn the volume up at Old Trafford!
6 min: Manchester United 0 Crystal Palace 0
It's Hughes' arm that has interfered, and Var calls Andre Marriner over to the pitchside monitor for review. Hughes' arm is wildly high, and a second look calls it – penalty for United!
The worst possible start for the visitors...
4 min: Manchester United 0 Crystal Palace 0
Olise bends the ball in, but Fernandes is first to mop up at the near post.
The ball is sent shooting to Antony on the right, but he can't keep hold of it, and Ayew quickly unpicks things to move play back to the halfway line.
Varane passes off to Fernandes, who plays back to Martinez, as United threaten early. Eventually, Rashford looses himself on the left and sprints into the box, looking for Weghorst. Palace are forced into quick-thinking defending, and there's an inquiry as to whether a Palace hand intervened.
2 min: Manchester United 0 Crystal Palace 0
Schlupp starts Crystal Palace off on the front foot, shooting through the centre of the United box, but unable to find a route through. He is overturned by Wan-Bissaka, granting the visitors an early freekick on the edge of the box.
Casemiro is first to the ball and clears it, but at the expense of conceding a corner.
A minute's tribute
Is thoughtfully and powerfully made, both sets of players ringing the centre circle, with bowed heads.
The whistle blows, and we'll get underway in the next few moments.
Old Trafford's memorials begin
Erik ten Hag and Patrick Vieira come out holding red and white floral wreaths, as the crowd behind them unfurls a banner printed with the Busby Babes line up and the words 'We'll Never Die' at their feet.
Sir Alex Ferguson is seen in the crowd, just ahead of the minute's silence.
New man Sabitzer makes his first forays onto the famous turf
👣 First steps. #MUFC || #MUNCRY pic.twitter.com/n9HT41Kuyy
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 4, 2023
Both side to commemorate the Munich air disaster
From James Ducker at Old Trafford
It’s the 65th anniversary of the Munich air disaster on Monday. Erik ten Hag and Patrick Vieira will lay wreaths before kick off, the players will wear black armbands and the “Flowers of Manchester” will play before the team’s walk out. A minute’s silence will also be held. Within Old Trafford, banners will be placed in the stands remembering those lost and flags will be at half-mast as a mark of respect. The families of those who lost their lives and were affected by the tragedy in Munich will be guests of the club in the directors’ box.
The matchday programme is also a special commemorative 100-page issue featuring a colourised shot of the classic Busby Babes line-up on the cover and there is also a supporter remembrance booklet.
James Ducker at Old Trafford
Anthony Martial’s perennial lack of availability is becoming a deep frustration for United this season. He returned from injury in midweek to come on as a substitute against Nottingham Forest and score but had a “setback” during the game according to manager Erik ten Hag and is now missing again. So it means another start for Wout Weghorst. United’s need for a dependable top class striker this summer is pressing. Marcel Sabitzer, the deadline day loan signing from Bayern Munich, is on the bench and Diogo Dalot is back in the squad. Crystal Palace will be without Wilfried Zaha for weeks with a hamstring injury, a real loss. Eberechi Eze is on the bench.
Martial won't play any part in today's match
That's because the Frenchman has once again been ruled out with another injury. He last managed a full 90 minutes in the Premier League back in January 2021 - over two years ago.
Man Utd: de Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw, Bruno Fernandes, Casemiro, Fred, Antony, Weghorst, Rashford.
Subs: Lindelof, Maguire, Malacia, Sabitzer, Dalot, Heaton, Sancho, Garnacho, Mainoo.
Crystal Palace: Guaita, Clyne, Richards, Guehi, Mitchell, Doucoure, Hughes, Ayew, Olise, Schlupp, Edouard.
Subs: Milivojevic, Tomkins, Sambi Lokonga, Eze, Mateta, Johnstone, Ahamada, Whitworth, Riedewald.
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)
Big match preview
Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport's live coverage as Crystal Palace travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United, with kick-off at 3pm.
Erik ten Hag was called upon to comment on news that criminal charges have been dropped against Mason Greenwood in his pre-match press conference, but maintains that his focus is on 'the game, no matter what'.
Ten Hag said that he had 'nothing' to say, and that there was nothing he could add, referring reporters present back to 'the statement of the club'.
"Sometimes you get issues,” he said. “Then as a club and team you have to deal with it. We have standards and values. We have to live along those high standards and values and that gives a base if you have a good culture and spirit.
“That’s our job, not to get distracted by anything. We are human beings and sometimes there are issues, we are not like robots, but we have to focus on our job.
“We have so many games so we don’t have time to get distracted by anything. It’s not easy but that is our job.”
Ten Hag also discussed the likely inclusion in today's matchday squad of new recruit Marcel Sabitzer, whose clutch loan deal from Bayern Munich came in the wake of Christian Eriksen's ankle injury.
Sabitzer's new manager praised his latest signing's 'winning attitude'.
"He is a determined football player with a really good attitude and [at] many clubs he was also captain, so he is also a leader.
"I think for that it is a perfect signing. We are really happy with him."
A home win today will shore up United's ambitions of catching up with the leaders of the pack, as they currently sit fourth, as they continue their fight on all fronts after recent successes in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup.