Classy Casemiro brings balance to Manchester United’s midfield at last | Jonathan Liew

Against Chelsea, the Brazilian, Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen looked like a slick, modern and fully functional unitAnd you can sit there all night, playing with your silly machines. By the end of this taut and thrilling match, the iPads and the tactics boards had been stashed away. Graham Potter and Erik ten Hag stood on the touchline, contemplating this 1-1 draw, looking drained and perhaps even a little concussed by the experience. It had been a game of stratagems and counter-stratagems, plans made and then remade, two coaches trying to control the space on the pitch with the space in their heads. But ultimately this is also a contact sport, a thing of guts and loins, of inches and millimetres, of who can win the grapple and who can summon the courage to leap highest when everything is on the line.There have been more consequential games between Chelsea and Manchester United over the years. Louder games. Better and more exciting games. But perhaps never a game that has felt like more of an intellectual exercise, that has been so unashamed of its own erudition. As Potter and Ten Hag traded blows on the touchline, the evening began to splinter a little, not so much a single game of football as several distinct campaigns, a ceaseless and gripping battle for supremacy in which both teams probably got what they deserved.

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