Bruno Fernandes has turned into a perfect fit for Ole Gunnar’s Manchester United side. But how much of his performance is overrated?
Does it come as a surprise that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could have probably lost his job last year’s Winter? (January 2020 transfer window).
The reason was simple, Manchester United was wretched. A 2-0 away loss to Watford, a 2-0 away loss to Arsenal, a 3-1 home loss to Man City, a 2-0 away loss to Liverpool that could have easily been 4-nil, needing a replay to beat wolves in the FA Cup, and then a 2-0 home loss to Burnley on 22nd of January was arguably an indication that his tenure was near an end.
Long-term target Bruno Fernandes was signed, and the rest is history!
United was reawakened from the dead. The resurrection included a rise from the lowly 5th place on the log to 3rd!
2019/20 Bruno Fernandes
Before Fernandes debut on the 1st of February 2020, Manchester United was closer to the relegation zone (11points) than to the Top three (14points). United was also six points below fourth-placed Chelsea.
Fast forward to the end of the season, United finished as the third-best team in the land!, ahead of Chelsea, Leicester, Tottenham, Arsenal…
They did so with the longest unbeaten run towards the end of the season. Not only did they finish third, but they also won more points(32) than any other team since Bruno Fernandes’s debut.
Bruno led the league with 15 goal involvements (scored 8 goals and provided 7 assists) in the run of 14 games that ended the season. A run which saw them win 9 and draw 5 matches, thereby picking 32 points in the process.
In their previous 24 games, they only managed to win 9, draw 7 and lose 8 games gathering a total of 34 points.
He didn’t miss a single game in the remainder of the 2019/20 season to show his importance despite being a new signing, featuring across the remaining 27 fixtures (EPL -14 + UEL -9(1) + Fa Cup -3) of the season.
As a result of his performances, he bagged the United Player of the Season Award. An award that was previously never given to someone who took part in just 22 league games for the club.
Overall, he played 26(1) games for United 2019/20, and he had 20 goal involvements (12 goals, 8 assists).
2020/21 Bruno Fernandes
The 2020/21 Season may have kicked off weeks later but Bruno wasn’t going to have a hangover. He maintained or arguably even improved on his ever-impressive world-class performances.
Always dictating play, and at a lovable pace, Bruno Fernandes has become the attacking fulcrum of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United. His style and energy of play will continue to thrive in the EPL.
United was on the verge of being thrashed by West Ham in their EPL clash on the 5th of December 2020.
Then came on Bruno Fernandes and everything seemed to change. He created an outstanding 8 chances in 45 minutes- a joint best record in the EPL. Not just that, United began controlling proceedings with the Portuguese star at the center of the orchestra.
He has featured in 24 games(started-21, subbed in-3) and has 15 goals and 9 assists (24 direct goal involvements).
Notice anything? His stats this season betters that of last season in just 24 games!
His stats outshines most of his colleagues playing the No 10 position. It competes against strikers tallies albeit because of penalty duties.
That non-withstanding, Fernandes stats are still elite for his position on the pitch. This season, he has already been involved in 18 goals (11goals, 7 assists) in the Premier League!
To sum it up, Bruno Fernandes in his 30th Premier League appearance has been directly involved in 33 goals(19 goals, 14 assists). The only player in Premier League history to be involved in more goals after their first 30 games are Andrew Cole (37).
No manchester united player’s debut generated that much goal involvements, with van Nistelrooy the only player to score more (22goals) in the Club’s history.
If Manchester United are to mount a real title push, Bruno Fernandes will very well be part and parcel of that run.
At least, Kevin De Bruyne seems to have got competition, at least for now.