Manchester United won a superb Premier League encounter with Leeds United today under abject conditions at Elland Road, with one substitute performance in particular proving crucial to the win.
With his side looking bereft of ideas, everyone looked to the dugout to see what reinforcements manager Ralf Rangnick would introduce.
Many fans’ eyebrows were raised when Fred was brought on for Paul Pogba in the 67th minute, but it proved to be an inspired substitution by Rangnick and an even more inspired performance from the Brazilian.
In Fred’s 23 minutes on the pitch, he had 18 touches, recorded 77% accurate passes (10 out of 13) and played two long balls.
The 28-year-old broke brilliantly in the 70th minute and despatched a wicked shot from a tight angle after a one-two with Jadon Sancho.
The midfielder was a breath of fresh air both offensively and defensively as he grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck.
Fred also drew two fouls, won three out of four ground duels and completed one successful dribble.
There were a lot of heroes on the pitch for United this afternoon but few contributed more than the diminuitive Brazilian, who has now scored three Premier League goals this season – more than in the last three seasons combined.
Fred has scored 3 goals for Man Utd in the Premier League this season, making it his best ever PL tally.
He scored 2 in his previous three seasons combined. 🇧🇷🤝 pic.twitter.com/qOroIOO1fB
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 20, 2022
Part of Fred’s renaissance is down to Rangnick, who plays him in a more box-to-box role than previous manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who tended to play him in a double-pivot in front of the defence, blunting the player’s attacking instincts.
Statistics from sofascore.com.