Bruno Fernandes’ career at Manchester United has taken off since he first graced Old Trafford in February 2020 and he’s never shown any sign of slowing down since.
The Portugal international was a lockdown revelation when he swapped Sporting Lisbon for the Red Devils in January 2020, tallying eight goals and seven assists in only 14 matches towards the end of the season.
Since hitting the ground running in his first half-season at the Theatre of Dreams, Fernandes has soaked up the limelight as Man United’s danger man, clocking 60 goals and 52 assists in 175 appearances.
Although Marcus Rashford’s blockbuster season stole the headlines in 2022/23, United’s stand-in captain has been the cornerstone of the club’s renaissance under Erik ten Hag this term.
While his goal contributions from some previous years have dwindled, the 28-year-old’s intangible qualities, including his leadership, playmaking skills and endless work rate, have been paramount.
Numbers don’t lie as they say, so let’s look at Fernandes’ offensive output this season.
Fernandes’ stats in the 2022/23 Premier League season
His first goal contribution this term came on matchday four as he slotted home a second-half winner in Man Utd’s narrow 1-0 home victory over Southampton.
But he has amassed only five goals in 29 league outings in 2022/23, last scoring in a 2-1 triumph over mid-table Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in early February.
Don’t let Fernandes’ relatively sparse scoring showings trick you into believing he hasn’t been critical to United’s rock-solid top-four charge.
By contrast, the Red Devils have won four out of five Premier League games featuring the Portuguese ace on the scoresheet (D1), including victories over Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.
Unfortunately for United, Fernandes is a major doubt ahead of their pivotal top-flight clash against fellow top-four hopefuls Spurs this midweek.
Ten Hag delivered a damning fitness verdict on the playmaker’s fitness status during a press conference ahead of United’s trip to London on Thursday.
As you may have realised by now, Fernandes is a man for the big occasion, but even when he doesn’t score, he still makes his on-field presence count.
He has delivered six assists across five Premier League matches this season, and the Red Devils have dropped points only once in those fixtures (W4, L1).
His assists have helped Man United overcome Arsenal, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Bournemouth and Leicester City, with the Gunners’ 3-2 win at the Emirates Stadium in January being the only exception.
To better understand Fernandes’ talismanic impact, United suffered a 3-1 defeat at Aston Villa in the only Premier League game he failed to feature in this season.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com
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