Bruno Fernandes’ season at Manchester United was marked by individual brilliance without the cutlery to show it off.
All the goals and assists in the world count for little if the team ultimately falls short.
United’s lack of cutlery shouldn’t detract from Fernandes’ contribution as he ended the season as the club’s top scorer.
What was his situation like during the season?
Fernandes started the season on a high after winning the club’s 2019/20 Player of the Season award after just half a season.
There was some skepticism from outside the club as to whether he could hold that form or whether it would fade.
Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes poses with the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award (Photo by Matthew Peters / Manchester United via Getty Images)
How did 2020/21 go?
Fernandes’ first full season at Manchester United saw him answer almost every question he was asked.
He became United’s top scorer, scoring more league goals than any other Red Devils player in the past five years and breaking Frank Lampard’s record as a Premier League midfielder.
Fernandes’ creativity led him to finish the season with 94 chances in the Premier League, more than any other player.
Fernandes also took first place for Target Achieving Actions and Expected Assists, according to FBRef.com.
Fernandes’ campaign mixed in with spectacular goals like his volley against West Brom and his goal of the season against Everton.
Highlight of the season?
One of the most memorable moments of Fernandes’ season was his penalty win against Brighton, in which he scored after the final whistle. The goal came in the 10th minute of stoppage time after a VAR check and will be remembered for a long time due to its unique circumstances when United sealed a 3-2 win.
Fernandes’ best goal was his free-kick winner against Liverpool, the game sealed a 3-2 win and gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer his first win against Jürgen Klopp.
Other outstanding performances include his two goals and two assists in United’s 6-2 win over Roma and his brace in an away win at Everton.
For him it was also a personal highlight to lead United to an away win against PSG.
Low point of the season?
The low point for Fernandes came in the Europa League final, in which he was too easily undone. Losing as the team’s captain in a final was a memory he would rather forget.
The defeat was due not only to Fernandes, but also partly to Solskjaer’s tactics, which left him too isolated against a team that loved to go in depth, but the United midfielder has some responsibility to bear.
Fernandes was similarly suffocated in other games against Chelsea and Arsenal, including in the home game against Liverpool, while also missing a late chance at an away win at Anfield.
Fernandes also had a lean period between February and April, scoring just two goals in 16 games.
Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes defeats Villarreal in Europa League final (Photo by Chris Ricco – UEFA / UEFA via Getty Images)
What were the standout numbers?
28 goals and 18 assists speak for themselves, more could not have been asked for at United.
This was the highest number of goals for a midfielder in Europe this season and also the highest number of assists.
He now has 40 United goals in 80 games for the club, a return that should be made a striker, not a midfielder.
Next step 2021/22?
Fernandes can produce in big moments, he showed that against Roma and the FA Cup win against Liverpool, but he has to do it more often.
In terms of goals, it will be tough for Fernandes to top his 28 goals from last season but you know he will try.
Likewise assists, Fernandes will be pushing to hit the 20s mark after getting close last season.
Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes celebrates his goal against AS Roma (Photo by Michael Regan / Getty Images)
It is important for Fernandes to rest after the European Championship, he has played over 70 games in the last month. The mental challenge of not winning anything after a great season can be a heavy burden on him.
So United needs to become a little less dependent on Fernandes and this will help both the team and the player to play consistently at a high level.
He can always get better and whether the numbers confirm or not, Fernandes’ main goal for next season will be to win silver regardless of his individual stats.
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