Marouane Fellaini produced an indomitable display in Manchester United’s 2-1 loss to Watford in the Premier League.
The Belgian, returning to the starting XI after being rested against Feyenoord on Thursday, was a powerful, disruptive physical presence all game, allowing the visiting side to take control of proceedings in the second-half.
A glance at his stats shed light on what was a formidable display: 88 touches, 97% pass accuracy, 6 aerial duels won, 2 tackles.
In the midst of a galling third straight defeat, hallmarked, of course, by total dysfunction and lack of direction going forward, it may be hard to acknowledge the endeavours made by Fellaini at Vicarage Road.
But for a man so often chastised, so often singled out as Man United’s scapegoat, this performance – selfless, dedicated, packed with aggression – deserves praise.
And yet, despite a positive return to the starting XI, more questions will loom over exactly how Fellaini will slot into the midfield once Jose Mourinho makes some much-needed changes to his midfield structure.
How will the 53-year-old accommodate both Fellaini and Pogba – two fundamental aspects of his midfield set-up – whilst instilling some much needed steel and control at United’s core? A possible answer comes in the form of Michael Carrick – a midfield lynchpin for so many years at Old Trafford. Having the Englishman at the base would allow Fellaini to rampage forward at a greater rate, as opposed to performing defensive duties as well.