Marouane Fellaini is facing a possible three-match ban after being charged with violent conduct by the FA this week but Manchester United supporters may not miss the Belgian too much.
The charge came after Leicester City’s Robert Huth grabbed a handful of Fellaini’s hair in the 1-1 draw between the two sides last week. Fellaini responded by shoving an elbow into Huth’s chin before swinging a hand in his face. The Foxes defender has also been charged with violent conduct for his part in the clash.
Fellaini’s possible ban is disappointing as he has enjoyed a mini-renaissance in the United side recently. The Belgian was excellent in the FA Cup quarter-final against West Ham United earlier this season and he scored against Everton in the semis. Fellaini’s physicality has proven to be a useful tool in disrupting the flow of the opposition and helping United gain a foothold in midfield.
But prior to that period, supporters had been losing patience with Fellaini following a disappointing campaign. His inclusion in the team often led to United playing long-ball and his lack of class was glaring in the middle of the park.
It appears that Fellaini has been a victim of circumstance: when used in a specific way in specific situations, he can be a game-changing player.
But at a club like United, who value attacking verve, swagger and pace above all else, those situations just cannot be afforded often enough for Fellaini, whose playing style goes against everything that the club has stood for over the years. United have to change their whole style to accommodate Fellaini and the benefits aren’t generally worth it.
Fellaini’s excellent goalscoring record for Belgium suggests that sides can benefit if they use him in his best position, but it’s unlikely that supporters at Old Trafford would give him much patience, particularly amid the troubles that the side have already experienced this term.
United are targeting dynamic central midfielders, with the likes of Renato Sanches being linked with moves to Old Trafford, and it’s hard to imagine a role for Fellaini in the starting XI if they are to play the game in their ideal way. Roma are said to be interested in securing a deal for Fellaini and his days may be numbered at United. His possible ban means that he may have played his last game for United.