The major worry with Marouane Fellaini at Manchester United

by Sam Peoples

Marouane Fellaini was a player everybody expected Manchester United to sign as soon as David Moyes was announced as Sir Alex Ferguson‘s replacement and so it proved.

The 25-year-old was brought in by Moyes to add some much needed steel to an otherwise vulnerable United midfield. Alongside Carrick, he could be the perfect playing partner that will allow the side to have a real presence in the middle of the park.

No more with the likes of Yaya Toure have a free run against United now that Fellaini is in the side. However, as much as his physicality will be his one of his greatest strengths in the team, it could also prove be his major weakness.

Last season, Fellaini got booked ten times in the Premier League but it isn’t in English football where his discipline may cause a problem, it is in the Champions League.

Yesterday, Fellaini admitted that the lure of playing in the Champions League was what really made him want to move from Everton. Given the glamour of competing against the best that Europe has to offer, it’s hardly surprising that it was a major factor in his move but Fellaini will have to quickly learn that European football has an altogether different style of play than domestic football does.

Premier League referees and European referees are two different breeds. A lot of tackles players would get away with in domestic competition are clamped down on in the Champions League and I am worried that Fellaini will struggle to adapt to that because of his poor discipline record in the past.

His tendency to throw his elbows around is part and parcel of his game in the Premier League but Fellaini won’t have the luxury of being able to use his body so much in Europe. Referees will book him far quicker and he could be forced to tentatively play games on a yellow card if he is not careful.

As a brutish central midfielder, there is a certain physicality that has to exist in Fellaini’s game. Belgium finished 17th in the 2012/13 UEFA Fair Play League so it is obviously a style of football that Fellaini has grown up playing. Like Roy Keane, the physical aspect is an integral element as to what type of footballer he is. Take it away from him completely and you take the soul out of his football but the Belgian will quickly have to improve his discipline if he isn’t going to let it affect United in Europe this year.

Moyes wouldn’t of brought Fellaini to United if he thought that he was going to be a complete liability in Europe but he is just as inexperienced in the competition as the midfielder, so there is a real risk it could be our downfall this year again.

Last season, a red card got us knocked out of the Champions League. Moyes and Fellaini have to make sure that he doesn’t make the same thing doesn’t happen.

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