Football Features

Fantastic Fernandes continues to shine for beleaguered Manchester United

By Will Evans | Twenty3

Published: 16:31, 17 April 2024

Bruno Fernandes has been a shining light amid the darkness of Manchester United’s season.

The Red Devils currently sit seventh in the Premier League and look highly unlikely to secure Champions League football for next term.

But Fernandes continues to perform for Erik ten Hag’s beleaguered outfit, scoring an impressive four goals in his last three outings.

We shine the spotlight on United’s talismanic No.8, to understand his importance at Old Trafford.

Coming up clutch

Manchester United may be struggling, but things could be significantly worse without Fernandes.

He has registered eight goals and six assists across 31 Premier League appearances, with the majority of them proving to be decisive contributions.

In fact, Ten Hag’s team would be 13 points worse off if you were to discount Fernandes’ result-changing goals or assists.

The 29-year-old is the master at pulling something out of the bag in clutch moments.

Creator-in-chief

Fernandes’ creative impact for Manchester United cannot be underestimated.

No Premier League player has conjured more chances than the Porto native (90), while he ranks inside the division’s top five for big chances created with 14.

He regularly looks to unpick opposition back lines, too, with his 575 completed final third passes and eight completed through-balls, inside the top 10 for both metrics.

Fernandes is undoubtedly the lynchpin for much of United’s offensive play.

Defensively dogged

Though he is often lauded for his attacking prowess, Fernandes is equally adept at regaining possession for his side.

Only Conor Gallagher (38), Bukayo Saka (33) and Dwight McNeil (30) have won the ball more times in the attacking third than Fernandes (29), with his 78 middle third regains also ranking 19th in the division.

And with a commendable total of 64 tackles across the season, he is proving to be a dominant force in the centre of the park.

Finishing masterclass

Fernandes’ eight top-flight goals this term is nothing to be sniffed at, but it does not tell the complete story of his shooting ability.

He has registered 11.3 expected goals on target, versus an xG of 8.92 — suggesting that the Portugal international’s finishing is exceeding the quality of chances being supplied by his team-mates.

With Manchester United’s 1.5 big chances created per 90 ranking just 15th in the Premier League, they will need Fernandes to continue being clinical when presented with opportunities.