Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes seems to struggle to deliver in big games.
Bruno Fernandes failed to impose himself in the match against Liverpool during his side’s 0-0 draw at Anfield.
Fernandes has emerged as a talisman for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team since his arrival nearly a year ago. The midfielder’s presence has energised Man United and limited them to just three losses during his time at the club.
Fernandes has contributed 11 goals and seven assists in the league this campaign, second only to Tottenham’s Son-Heung Min.
Additionally, only Liverpool‘s Mohamed Salah has managed to outscore him in the Premier League throughout 2020.
Bruno Fernandes against the Premier League's 'big six' in 2020-21:
🏃♂️ 6 matches
⚽️ 1 goal (a penalty)
🅰️ 0 assists
The penalty came in a 6-1 defeat to Tottenham 🙃 pic.twitter.com/95VFqNYfGF
— Goal (@goal) January 18, 2021
Despite this though, critics have highlighted the fact that the ex-Sporting Lisbon man only seems to score against lesser sides as well as grabbing several penalties to bolster his goals tally.
Big game struggles.
The 26-year-old endured a miserable game against the Reds.
According to stats website WhoScored.com, Fernandes managed a paltry 33 passes with an accuracy of only 60%.
For comparison, Thiago Alcantara pulled off 96 passes with an 86.5% success rate.
Bruno Fernandes lost possession (19) more times than he completed passes (18) against Liverpool
Hall of shame stat 😭 pic.twitter.com/ETc6p530i7
— 🐐 (@BillyGilmourSZN) January 17, 2021
In the aftermath of the game, critics have jumped on the bandwagon to highlight the midfielder’s repeated failings on the big stage since his arrival at Old Trafford.
When analysing the Portuguese international’s stats against the Premier League’s ‘Big-Six’ sides, the end result would do little sway the cynics in his favour.
Bruno Fernandes is definitely a victim of his own success. It almost feels like he has to score or make an assist in every game now, otherwise he’s a ‘false image.’ The guy hasn’t even been in the PL for a year yet, so I think the criticism towards him is just a bit over the top.
— Ryan. 🔴 (@Vintage_Utd) January 18, 2021
Stats were sourced from WhoScored and Transfermarkt and the full list have been outlined below:
Minutes played: 837
Goals from open play: 0
Goals from penalties: 3
Match-winning goals: 0
Man of the Match awards: 0
Minutes per goal or assist: 167.4
The former-Udinese player averages a win every five games and has no goals from open play in the aforementioned big games.
Additionally, Fernandes’ three penalty goals failed to secure the win for his side in all of the encounters.
It should also be noted that the two assists he produced arrived almost a year ago against Manchester City and Chelsea – just before football was halted during the initial lockdown.
While Fernandes’ numbers are less than satisfactory for a player of his quality, it would be harsh to label him a failure given that he’s been playing in England for less than a year.
Still no open play G/A against the traditional big six for bruno Fernandes. pic.twitter.com/kZ51o93Vh5
— 📶 (@Deji_AFC) January 17, 2021
Additionally, one must bear in the mind the burden of creativity and attack that is shouldered by the midfielder and that despite his shortcomings, his qualities can never be in doubt.
Bruno will know better than anyone else of his need to improve and deliver in the big games and time will tell how his efforts to do so will pan out.