Man Utd form dip ranking features 2) Casemiro as Garnacho makes top five

Will Ford
Casemiro Man Utd
Casemiro has endured a difficult second season at Man Utd.

Manchester United have won three games on the bounce in entirely unconvincing fashion. And we won’t let victories get in the way of negativity. The crisis remains real amid a dramatic dip in form for the vast majority of Erik ten Hag’s squad.

We’ve ranked the form dip of the United stars this season from last, from least to most. Players must have started at least three games in each season to be eligible. 

 

14) Scott McTominay
You would have got long odds at the start of the season on Manchester United winning three consecutive games thanks to goals from McTominay, Diogo Dalot and Harry Maguire, and the Scot in particular has drawn praise for showing heart that’s lacking elsewhere.

Everyone appears to remain convinced that he’s not the long-term solution, and he might not be, but you can very easily imagine him tearing it up for Newcastle were he to make that move in January. Maybe United are holding McTominay back rather than the other way around.

 

13) Diogo Dalot
Not the Portugal international we would ordinarily associate with scoring from outside the box for United, but while Bruno Fernandes and the other flair players fail to step up, someone’s got to.

Dalot’s very shouty, which works in his favour, and is always very present when congratulations are in order, for a timely challenge, a block or anything meriting a bum tap or a high five. It at least creates the persona of someone who loves United, and there’s no reason to doubt that he does.

There are still questions as to whether he’s good enough to be playing right-back for United, or if he’s even the best right-back at the club, but kudos for caring.

 

12) Bruno Fernandes
You could look at two goals and three assists in all competitions and make a case for a decline, but he can’t do everything. Only James Maddison (29) and Kieran Trippier (29) have created more chances than Bruno (27) in the Premier League this season.

He’s also made more combined tackles and interceptions (34) and ball recoveries (72) than any other player at United.

READ: Man Utd on course for worst Premier League goals tally ever as decade-long issue continues

 

11) Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Pretty good last season, when not injured; pretty good this season, when not injured.

 

10) Harry Maguire
He didn’t cover himself in glory defensively before his goal against Copenhagen, which is perhaps more indicative than the goal itself, but the outpouring of emotion after his header was lovely. Firmly in the ‘at least he cares’ category at United along with McTominay. By virtue of simply giving a sh*t, Maguire will earn plaudits.

 

9) Victor Lindelof
Only five of his teammates have started more games than Lindelof this season, which he probably wouldn’t have expected. Slammed for being “weak” by Paul Scholes against Galatasaray, he’s a perfectly serviceable centre-back playing for a perfectly serviceable Premier League club.

 

8) Anthony Martial
He’s neither high nor low in this list as he’s been as meh this season as last. One goal in nine appearances this season and 17 in all competitions in the three previous campaigns combined – it’s truly remarkable that Martial remains a Manchester United player.

And he still ‘has not given up on his Man Utd career’, or at least on the very sizeable paychecks he’s been cashing for the last eight years, with Ten Hag ready to hand him a ‘significant role’, mainly because no f***er will buy him.

 

7) Antony
Somewhere near the middle of the pack because of the low bar he set last season. Eight goals and three assists from 51 appearances is a laughable return for an £85m player and boy, are we laughing.

 

6) Christian Eriksen
United have won just one of the four games Eriksen’s started. He did score in that 3-2 win over Forest, but even that game was a pretty clear illustration as to why there is no place in this team for the Denmark international.

He’s not going to play as the attacking midfielder, because of Bruno Fernandes and Mason Mount, but also because he’s not built to press. And he can’t play as one of the deeper midfield two as Casemiro – and probably Sofyan Amrabat – need more legs than Eriksen can provide alongside them.

What United lack when he does play is greater than what he can provide.

 

5) Alejandro Garnacho
Suspicions that he’s a bit of a pr*ck were confirmed by his antics against Copenhagen and he fluffed a very good one-on-one opportunity that would have rendered that “baby-level” penalty scuffing unnecessary.

Ten Hag seems happy with Garnacho’s development, but if anything he’s become less effective this season, registering just one goal – in the League Cup – and no assists in close to 400 minutes of football.

 

4) Raphael Varane
We’ll take the opinions of Tim Sherwood and Paul Parker – both of whom have slammed and blasted Varane in recent weeks – with big fistfuls of salt, and we’re not convinced by Paul Scholes’ claim that he’s “lazy”, but there is some evidence that he “can’t handle the pace”, as Rene Meulensteen reckons.

Varane has always had a languid style, which served him perfectly well on his way to four Champions League titles, and can be confused for laziness, or even indifference. But there is a change in him this season, perhaps weariness at playing at the pinnacle for so long, which gives him a get-at-able quality which will only become more of an issue.

 

3) Lisandro Martinez
An injury at the right time for him and United as the World Cup winner had stunk the place out up to that point. His height – tipped to be his Achilles heel before he proved Jamie Carragher and the other doubters wrong last season – wasn’t the problem, but rather him doing the things he did so well in his debut campaign really, really badly.

Having previously been two or three steps ahead of opposition forwards, he was reading the game at a first-grade level. Tackles were mistimed and needlessly aggressive. He was acting composed rather actually being composed. Given what was a very hectic year, some time off may well have done him some good.

Man Utd trio Casemiro, Victor Lindelof, Lisandro Martinez
Casemiro, Victor Lindelof, Lisandro Martinez look dejected during a match.

 

2) Casemiro
Ten Hag is now ‘worried’ by what is described as an ‘unforeseen’ downturn in Casemiro’s form. It has been rather a stark decline, but we would question how United failed to predict the Brazilian would struggle as the lone defensive midfielder, as has been the case for most of this season.

A further report claims the 31-year-old ‘regrets’ moving to Old Trafford, which is a tad surprising given the plaudits he received last season, but understandable given how entirely f***ed he’s looked this term. Fortunately we suspect the turn-out at a Manchester United regret support group would be strong.

READ: Mason Mount regret as Ten Hag’s ‘unforeseen dilemma’ at Man Utd glues £55m star to the bench

 

1) Marcus Rashford
Rashford had actually only managed to score two more Premier League goals by the same stage last season, with his goal glut starting after Christmas, but those contributions did result in wins over Liverpool and Arsenal.

His only goal this term gave the Red Devils fans false hope against the Gunners and the familiar groans at distant pot-shots are starting to become more frequent. He’s always been a confidence player and currently looks very low indeed in a Manchester United shirt.

He scored a very Marcus Rashford goal for England in the win over Italy, which suggests his “dire” form is more down to the club than him, but he’s also experienced enough now that he should be one of the players in Ten Hag’s squad to be lifting those around him, rather than relying on others.

READ: Man Utd on course for worst Premier League goals tally ever as decade-long issue continues