It was frustrating in midweek to see Erik ten Hag start suspension-risk Casemiro away at Palace, who predictably got booked and ruled out of the Arsenal game.

Scott McTominay was the replacement called in against Arsenal, and sadly it did not work out.

Ten Hag spoke before the game to MUTV, commenting: “We think he can fill in very well, we have a special role for him and I hope it will work, a little bit like last time.”

However, Manchester United were swarmed in midfield, losing the battle, with the Red Devils slipping to a 3-2 loss.

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Arsenal FC v Manchester United - Premier League
Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Scott McTominay performance v Arsenal

McTominay was active in midfield, winning three tackles, and making five headed clearances, he chipped in defensively.

However, this was a game which felt like a return back to games under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, where United were reliant on counter-attacks, and constantly fighting against the tide in midfield.

Casemiro has recently shown us the alternative, and he has been fantastic. With him unavailable, it was obvious to see McTominay just doesn’t offer the same defensive shield.

To be fair to the Scotland international, this was his first league start since the defeat at City in October. It was not an easy game for him to come in.

Ten Hag would have expected any midfielder he picks to do more in possession. Against Arsenal, McTominay completed only 20 passes in 90 minutes, from 27 attempts, a 74 per cent completion rate.

Casemiro averages 50 passes per game in the Premier League this season, figures which include his four substitute appearances, per WhoScored.

His quality on the ball has been a real bonus, in addition to his astute positioning and reading of the game; areas where McTominay is not in his class.

McTominay will still have a crucial role this season, with United low on midfield options, however, this was not one of his better games.

He is a player under scrutiny, with The Telegraph recently linking him with a move to Newcastle. This won’t be happening this month.

Come the summer, it would not be a surprise to see Erik ten Hag look to upgrade on the 26-year-old.

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