It’s no longer news that Man United has crashed out of yet another Semi-final missing out on a potential title opportunity. United were edged aside by local rivals Manchester City who will be going into their fourth straight final, after humbling Ole’s men by 2 goals to nil. Two strikes from defender John Stones and Fernandinho were enough to unsettle the camp at the Theatre of Dreams. With one of the most expensive sides in the league, fans have high expectations, with some even dreaming of a potential PL triumph. But time and again we have seen United fall against teams that title contenders normally beat.
While some fans have singled out players like Harry Maguire, Antonio Martial, Luke Shaw, and even Manager Ole Solskjaer, others like club legend Roy Keane, have fished out the team’s best player Bruno Fernandes as the scapegoat.
Is Bruno Fernandes really underperforming in big games?
While Fernades really had a quiet game vs City, he remains one of the most consistent players for Man United and to a large extent in English football. He has scored 27 goals and made 17 assists since he moved from Sporting Lisbon last year. He has also contributed to about half of Manchester United’s Premier League goals since he made his debut. You can quickly bank on Bruno to Score Anytime with betBonanza.
Fernandes has made a huge impact in the team since he arrived. Last season, Solskjaer's side had a 37.5% win rate without Fernandes in the team - which increased to 64.3% with him in the starting 11. United simply score more goals, concede fewer and collect more points with the Portuguese playmaker in the heart of midfield. In fact, by the end of last season, he'd already had 16 goal involvements (9 goals & 7 assists) in the league - more than Roberto Firmino, David Silva, and Alexandre Lacazette; all of whom had a six-month head start ahead of him. He's also recorded more goal involvements per game than any other player in the 20-time champions' modern history - more than Eric Cantona, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Robin van Persie, and Wayne Rooney. This is why leading bookie betBonanza are offering odds 1.87 for Bruno to Score and Man United to beat Watford. So the issue is not in his consistency or general performance. Fernandes is simply one of the best players in the league right now.
Why Bruno needs to win a trophy this season
For a player of Fernandes’ pedigree, winning a trophy is necessary. The earlier he does this, the better. While he still got the FA Cup, the Premier League, and Europa League to go for, winning the Carabao Cup mid-season would have boosted his confidence and given momentum to United’s pursuit of the title. “It’s not easy winning football trophies. Fernandes has had praise for the last few months and people have been comparing him to Cantona. He didn’t really do much tonight… top players turn up on the big occasions. And that’s what the Cantonas used to do – they get their hands on trophies,” Roy Keane said after the match. Bruno definitely needs to inspire Man United to a trophy win this season to cement his name as a truly great player by Man United’s standards. Luckily he still got several chances to do so.
In our football world driven by spectacular performances by the likes of Messi and Ronaldo, fans tend to forget that not every good player can carry a team through week-in week-out. Bruno is largely a newcomer to this United side and he is just 26 years old. It may not be fair to blame him for the team’s poor performance.