No Manchester United signing in recent memory has delivered quite the instant impact that Bruno Fernandes has.
The club are undefeated since the Portuguese international arrived in January, winning six of the nine games he has featured in. Fernandes has scored three goals and assisted four during this time too, adding some much-needed creativity into the middle of the park.
Operating in advanced positions within the final third, United have finally found an adequate playmaker, who is capable of transitioning attacks and bringing the side further up the field. The midfielder has filled the creative void left behind by Paul Pogba, averaging 2.2 key passes per game in the Premier League. Given United’s tendency to set-up with high-pressing front-men, Fernandes has been able to feed attackers in-behind, as shown through his average of 0.4 through balls per game.
One player who has specifically benefited from having this energetic figure pulling the strings has been Anthony Martial, who has scored three goals in United’s last five league games. Fernandes assisted the Frenchman’s goal against Manchester City back in March, with a cheeky lob over the Blues’ defenders. The two share a similar attacking mindset that compliments one another, with the duo quickly striking up an effective partnership.
This was always going to be the case for Martial, as a player that thrives with fellow creative sources around him. The Red Devils had the lion share of possession against the likes of Wolves, Watford and Everton before lockdown, registering sixteen shots on goal. Fernandes has injected more attacking intent when United are in possession, he himself has averaged 3.8 shots per game [ranked 1st in squad], but also through his ability to carry the ball forward, manoeuvring the side into more dangerous positions.
Across all competitions, the club have averaged 2.2 goals per game since he was introduced into the team, again highlighting the impact he has had on the side. It’s certainly been a refreshing sight, with Bruno’s arrival elevating the teammates around him. Martial is just one example of such, and the duo’s partnership has helped remount a challenge for Champions League qualification.
With Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford still to enter the picture, United are shaping up to hit the ground running when football returns next month.
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