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Monday, December 6, 2021

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Man United’s form doesn’t stop Bruno Fernandes being Europe’s best creator

Manchester United have been struggling as of late. They have only kept two clean sheets so far this season and if you take out the goals of Cristiano Ronaldo they have been struggling to make it count upfront as well.

A play that has therefore started to receive some criticism is Bruno Fernandes, whose goals and assists last season carried the team to a second-place finish in the Premier League and the final of the Europa League.

He was United’s top scorer and was playing more like a second striker, but has only scored in two games so far this season and has missed the only penalty he has taken, leading some fans to question whether his outstanding form had finally come to the end.

But if you watch Fernandes, you will realise what has actually happened is that the Portuguese midfielder has changed his role from a second striker to be a more creative force than he was last season (which was already really creative) and is in fact suffering from being a world-class supporting act in a team that is missing it’s a clinical edge.

This graphic below began to circulate on social media which shows just how far and above the competition Fernandes is in the UEFA Champions League this season.

In the 3-2 comeback against Atalanta, Fernandes created eight chances and assisted two goals to help his team escape from the brink of disaster.

He has already got seven assists so far this season and four of those are in the Champions League but he would have more assists in the Premier League if his team was able to finish.

He has been registering 3.5 key passes per 90 minutes played but the team in front of him are not making the most of this. Against Aston Villa, United registered 28 shots on goal but did not score a single one and against West Ham United in their 1-0 League Cup lost earlier the same week, they saw a similar result failing to score from 27 shots (though Bruno Fernandes was only a substitute in that game).

There is something seriously wrong at United but is wrong to put that on Fernandes’ shoulders and say he’s not performing, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should build his team around the player because he is what makes everything tick on a consistent basis.

Not Ronaldo, not Paul Pogba, not Marcus Rashford, but Fernandes.

Just like you, we can’t get enough of Manchester United! That’s why we’ve decided to supplement our expansive United coverage on the Manchester Evening News with a more fan-oriented platform catered specifically to United fans – United On My Mind.

Writers and presenters who share your passion for the red side of Manchester will be producing written, visual and audio content to reflect the mood in the stands as well as the press box.

Follow our team on Twitter (@MikeParrott_, @GarrickOmar, @Casey_Evans_ and @AnilKandola)!

Now I may be preaching to the choir here because I’m sure most of you agree with me about how fantastic Fernandes is, but it is a discourse I have seen leaking into punditry and some fans thinking over the past few weeks and it needs to stop.

Darren Gough talking on TalkSport on Wednesday evening, said when speaking about who he prefers over Pogba and Fernandes said; “The better footballer is Paul Pogba, [but we haven’t seen that yet] not on a consistent basis and that’s been the biggest problem.

“But a different manager would he say right, I like Fernandes and I think he’s an excellent footballer but I think I want to play [Paul] Pogba in his preferred position and Fernandes he fits in where I can get him in.”

One what is Pogba’s preferred position because I’ve never seen it at United and two, you don’t just fit Fernandes in, you build the team around him because, and I mean this wholeheartedly, Fernandes is the best player at United by a wide margin and any manager would have him as the first name on the team sheet.

Who would you start out of Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes in the number ten role? Follow our United On My Mind writer Casey Evans on Twitter and get involved in the discussion in the comment section below.

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