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Manchester United's conundrum continues with midfielder Casemiro - Premier League hits and misses

Plus: Kai Havertz is finally embraced at Arsenal after Brentford heroics; Crystal Palace improving under new boss Oliver Glasner despite conceding late equaliser against Luton; Wolves full-backs step up for injured forwards to continue surprising season

Man Utd's Casemiro conundrum continues

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester United's win against Everton in the Premier League.

This was an important win for Manchester United. Alejandro Garnacho was impressive. Marcus Rashford scored for a second successive game. Bruno Fernandes, meanwhile, found the net in the Premier League for the first time since November.

But, for all those positives, it is difficult to watch Erik ten Hag's side right now without wondering what has become of one of their most expensive additions. Casemiro continues to confound.

The Brazilian was the main culprit in a bewilderingly sloppy first-half performance by the hosts, repeatedly squandering possession in his own half with errant passes, often under no pressure.

At the interval, his completion rate was below 70 per cent. At full-time, it was not much better. In fact, at 76 per cent, it was the second-lowest of any United player, excluding their goalkeeper.

Casemiro lost possession 17 times overall, a total exceeded by only Everton defender Ben Godfrey among all outfield players on show at Old Trafford - and one he has reached on four separate occasions over the course of the campaign.

A high rate of possession losses can be excused for those players whose job it is to take risks in order to create chances. But that is not the responsibility of a holding midfielder and Casemiro - creator of only 11 opportunities this season - is no exception.

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In fairness, the 32-year-old has always been more adventurous than most with his passing from that position. But, in this Manchester United team, one which has major issues exerting control of games, it looks more of a hindrance than a help.

On this occasion, of course, it did not matter. United's first-half penalties went unanswered thanks to the toothlessness of their opponents. But the Casemiro conundrum continues.
Nick Wright

Everton the boxer without the knockout punch

Everton's Beto in action at Old Trafford
Image: Everton had 23 shots at Old Trafford - but could not find the net

Once again, a lack of goals cost Everton on Saturday. All the components were there, especially in the opening half an hour - great football, taking advantage of numerous Man Utd errors and some very good chances.

But despite having 23 shots - the most by an away side at Old Trafford all season - there was nothing to show from it apart from two clumsy errors in the opposing box and another defeat.

As the game's commentator contemplated - Everton are the boxer without the knockout punch. Perhaps a watch back of Anthony Joshua's second-round win against Francis Ngannou last night might be of some inspiration.

And even manager Sean Dyche said: "You've got to get hurt to score a goal sometimes."

And that's not to say that Everton don't have the bravery, heart and talent - they do. But something is clearly not clicking up front for them at the moment - the Toffees have a shot conversion rate of just 7.3 per cent in the Premier League this season, scoring 29 goals from 397 shots - their lowest rate in a campaign on record in the competition (since 1997-98).

With a three week break now ahead of them, and a working trip to Europe planned, Everton's priority must be goalscoring. It is the one missing piece of the puzzle to keep them from pushing up the table.
Charlotte Marsh

Havertz finally embraced at Arsenal

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of the Premier League clash between Arsenal and Brentford

Not even Mikel Arteta could have seen this Kai Havertz story arc coming.

"If somebody told me after the first two or three months that the whole stadium would be singing his song with that passion, with that feeling, with that chemistry, I would have found it hard to believe," said Arteta after the win over Brentford.

Havertz's early days at Arsenal were clouded by criticism that largely originated from online trolls but permeated into the terraces at the Emirates. No one was sure of his position while every error was clipped up and shared a thousand times over.

This only served to feed the narrative that Arsenal had made a major error in paying Chelsea £65m for the once highly thought of prospect from Germany yet to truly convince in the Premier League.

Havertz felt like he might be the next big name to see his performances drop in the face of widespread - and often unfair - criticism. His start to life in an Arsenal shirt was subdued, but not deserving of the treatment it received. Arteta always stood by the 24-year-old.

The win over Brentford was the fourth league game running that Havertz has scored in playing as Arsenal's makeshift striker. That's the same number of goals he'd scored in his previous 32 games.

Something has finally clicked for the forward in north London and Saturday's scenes of jubilation show he is now being embraced. "That's what happens to good people," Arteta added.
Zinny Boswell

Another late goal a blow for improving Palace

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights of the Premier League clash between Crystal Palace and Luton

Crystal Palace had scored three goals in three of their previous four home games. But none of those performances saw them as dominant as they were in this 1-1 draw with Luton. You have to go back to the opening day of the season win at Sheffield United to find a match where they had more shots. Five big chances created, according to Opta, is a season-high, too.

Yet some wasteful finishing from first-half goalscorer Jean-Philippe Mateta, and bad fortune for Eberechi Eze and Odsonne Edouard, who rattled the bar, combined to give Luton the opportunity for a last-gasp leveller. Selhurst Park was stunned when Cauley Woodrow's header went in off a post. They had already started celebrating a second home win for new boss Oliver Glasner.

But it was perhaps a familiar feeling. The 10 Premier League goals Crystal Palace have conceded after the 90th-minute this season is unmatched by any other side. Glasner admitted there may be a mental issue for his players, such is the frequency of the late goals they've let in - but he also pointed out that his side were on the front foot for much of the six added minutes, just as they had been for the majority of the game.

It's a painful blow to take into a three-week break in matches. But already, with limited training ground time, Glasner has made his mark on Palace's play. Now he has a good coaching window to further instil his methods. The aim will be for Palace to come out fighting after the international break and reclaim some of the points these late goals have cost them…
Peter Smith

Bournemouth finally show some powers of recovery

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League clash between Bournemouth and Sheffield United

Drawing at home with Sheffield United doesn't look good, especially when the opposition have just become the first team in English football history to lose three straight home games by five or more goals. But Bournemouth can take a lot of encouragement forward based on their performance, especially when chasing the game at 2-0 down.

Before this game, Andoni Iraola's team were the only side in the Premier League this season yet to take any points when behind at the break. They rallied with great tenacity and quality when tasked with the challenge. In total they posted a whopping 32 shots - the third most racked up by a team in a Premier League game this season. It might just be one win in their last nine Premier League games now but Iraola's Bournemouth remain an exciting prospect.
Lewis Jones

Wolves start to surprise even O'Neil

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Highlights from Wolves' match against Fulham in the Premier League

Wolves have beaten Tottenham twice and Manchester City this season, but a home victory against bottom-half Fulham has made boss Gary O'Neil the proudest.

"It's the best win of the season," he said after losing Pedro Neto and Jean-Ricner Bellegarde to first-half injuries. "Today surprised me."

O'Neil was already without top scorers Hee-Chan Hwang and Matheus Cunha yet it was typical of the style he has implemented so quickly that his full-backs made the telling contributions.

Rayan Ait-Nouri fired them ahead and then right-back Nelson Semedo saw his shot diverted in off Tom Cairney. Who needs forwards?

O'Neil's Wolves are one of the season's stories and sitting one point off the top seven, there are still more chapters to be told.
David Richardson

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