Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba- Manchester United’s Renaissance Men

Paul Pogba can thrive in Man United midfield with Bruno Fernandes ...
Image from Manchester United Blog

Bruno Fernandes has breathed fresh life in this Manchester United squad. Bruno Fernandes arrived at Manchester United during the January transfer window and made an instant impact. The creative player has made his presence felt and numbers suggest he is set to be highly effective. Fernandes has brought a sense of aura and his team-mates are in awe of him.

A partnership between the world-class midfielders has been pulled into focus since last 3 weeks because very rarely you can come across such combinations of 2 World class central midfielders. Paul Pogba can be termed virus or whatever for his influence in the team but someone has to be really foolish to say he isn’t a world class midfielder. On his day, Paul Pogba can make most defences look like a joke and that’s exactly what he has been doing since he has returned for Manchester United in Project Restart.

Statistically analyzing impact of Bruno Fernandes for Manchester United

  • Manchester United haven’t lost a match since Bruno Fernandes’ debut

The attacking mid-fielder impressed straightaway with his skill, tenacity and leadership. He has scored four goals in ten games for United. Notably, since his debut, United haven’t lost a match across competitions. Talk about the role of a catalyst 

  •  Fernandes has a 100% record in penalties for United

Before football being suspended, Bruno Fernandes had scored thrice, besides making four assists in nine matches which is impeccable for a new signing. The talk of settlement in league was all vanished in thin air. Post football resumption, Fernandes scored his third EPL goal via a penalty against Tottenham. Notably, he has scored all three penalties for United across competitions. His previous two penalties were against Watford and Club Brugge. 

Manchester United and penalty takers were becoming a joke because of previous misses from Rashford, Martial and Pogba but Bruno has taken up the mantle and made United look a safe bet in penalties.

 Other stats to Note
o   24 shots on goal, with 10 of them being on target.
o   He likes his right foot and hence all goals are from his right foot
o   Has hit the woodwork once
o   18 accurate long balls and three through balls
o   Fernandes has completed 330 passes, besides having created two big chances

 Pogba and Bruno Combination

This is the best midfield partnership United has had in the last half a decade and United fans have all rights and reasons to be excited about. Now think about how to fit a formation specifically suiting both Pogba and Bruno’s strength.

One good thing which Manchester United has right now is luxury of midfielders compared to playing a holding role with Andreas Pereira. So, after all the permutation and combinations involved, the ideal midfield trio is

Matic- Pogba -Bruno

And below is the explanation why

In terms of who would play further up the pitch, there wasn’t much discussion. Pogba has been played in the number ten role during his Red Devils career, but with Nemanja Matic as the anchor, he is allowed to operate in a box-to-box role – a role that better suits his skillset and that’s exactly how Juventus utilised him to his potential. Fernandes’ defensive abilities are not on the same level as Pogba’s, and his position of drifting in between the lines is where he shines, so he was to play further up the park.

Let’s face it, Nemanja Matic may not be a box to box midfielder but he doesn’t need to be in this formation. All he needs to do is anticipate the attack break down and play a pass to Pogba or Bruno, these 2 are more than capable to drive an attack or let out a shot from any corner of the pitch. 

Bruno is Infectious

Having only been at Old Trafford for such a short period of time, how Fernandes has taken to the Premier League is an encouraging sign for the former premier league champions. His communication in English language could well have helped with that transition to a certain extent, but on the pitch his influence is unquestionable. He’s infectious and is very warm. Those around him all suddenly appear infinitely better, with his work rate, desire and general quality rubbing off on his teammates. It will be too early to say that he is like a certain Irishman who once played for Nottingham Forest and then hew saw Old Trafford and said he fancy that but one thing is for sure, this guy from Lisbon means business and United have signed a gem. And Pogba is, well, only one of the most naturally gifted footballers and quite literally able to do absolutely anything he wants with a ball at his feet. Though, Greame Souness can say whatever he wants to but take nothing away from this mercurial Frenchman who is an absolute delight to watch. 

The fear that these two guys can strike into opposition sides instantly causes unrest – which is exactly what happened on Wednesday evening against Sheffield and vs Norwich when Pogba came the game suddenly came to life.

For example, Sheffield United didn’t know whether to stick or twist with Fernandes and Pogba, and any inkling of confusion will only allow them to express themselves further. With the roles set, there still needed to be a connection between the pair. This was evidently noticeable just two minutes in when both players sprinted into the penalty box, but with Pogba staying further up the field, Fernandes tracked back and it was unsaid and Bruno made sure that the gap was quickly filled.

Both can do much of what the other can, but Fernandes’ superb footwork and creativity, and Pogba’s exemplary passing stand out as each’s main attribute. Elegance on the ball, creative attacking movements and neat intricate give and go’s were there to be seen, even if the pace of the game had slowed considerably.  Manchester United may not play Arsenalesque football of olden days or even the tiki taka of Barcelona but these two lads can weave a brand of football of their own. Its difficult to choose who is more important out of the two and how team will function without each other for a long time. But it looks set to be a long and fruitful relationship these two will have.

The Premier League best be afraid and may be just may be is this the start of Renaissance which Manchester United has been searching since Sir Alex Left.

Author: TUD Author