After years of tracking, Manchester United finally signed Bruno Fernandes. Fernandes will wear the legendary no.18 shirt after his £46.6 million transfer move from Sporting Lisbon.
The Premier League is extremely tough, and there is never an easy fixture. Fernandes’ debut came against fellow European chasers Wolves at Old Trafford last Saturday. Despite the game ending in a draw (0-0), Fernandes made his mark.
There was a huge expectation on the Portuguese international, as United are having a very disappointing season. United fans must realise that Fernandes cannot turn around this torrid season singlehandedly.
As the team sheets were announced last Saturday, it was unclear on the role Fernandes would play. This was down to fellow playmakers Juan Mata and Andreas Pereira also being in the side.
Throughout the first half Fernandes primarily played in the pocket behind Anthony Martial. This allowed Fernandes to cause problems in the attacking third, especially through combination play. As well as being influential in the attack, Fernandes didn’t shy away from defensive work and this was demonstrated throughout.
Arguably one of the biggest chances of the game did fall to Fernandes. It fell nicely on the edge of the box however the shot was comfortable for Rui Patricio. This didn’t negatively affect Fernandes, as he continued to get on the ball and create opportunities.
It seemed that United would eventually get the breakthrough, and it would most likely come through Fernandes. Although this then seemed unlikely in the second half as he played in a much deeper role.
Due to this deeper position, this meant he had fewer opportunities to have an effect in the final third. He also then had less freedom to make his movements. This was down to his extra defensive responsibilities.
Despite his deeper role, Fernandes still dictated United’s tempo. Whenever Fernandes had the ball, the atmosphere immediately became optimistic. He did have multiple attempts on goal and seemed he was the only goal threat on the night.
Whilst being exceptional on the ball all game, he also was very good out of possession. Constant rotations made it difficult for the Wolves players to get close to the playmaker. He would also instruct on where his teammates should be positioned, which shows his leadership skills from being a previous captain.
It is clear that Fernandes has the quality to be a great United player however, he also needs capable players around him. The likes of Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, and Daniel James simply aren’t good enough at this level. A midfield three of Fred, Paul Pogba and Fernandes could be exceptional.