Manchester United have begun the season in undoubtedly poor fashion.
They currently sit 12th in the table with a negative goal difference, fresh from a disappointing 1-3 loss away to rivals Arsenal.
Whether it’s the eye test, or a more comprehensive statistical analysis, Erik ten Hag’s side have not performed well across their opening four games.
Which is what makes the individual contributions of Bruno Fernandes all the more impressive.
The Portuguese powerhouse has delivered a strong demonstration of top quality midfield play at a time when his team mates have been unable to match his standards.
As usual, Fernandes has been ever present on the pitch. He ranks joint 1st for minutes played; an area he’s always strongly represented in given his excellent fitness levels.
His ability to stay fit borders on anomalous – in his career. United’s captain has missed more penalties than he has games through injury.
Bruno Fernandes has missed more penalties in his career (5) than games due to injury (4):
❌ vs. Napoli
❌ vs. Loures
❌ vs. Newcastle
❌ vs. Villa
❌ vs. Arsenal
🚑 Flu – Napoli
🚑 Leg injury – Ukraine
🚑 Leg Injury – Serbia
🚑 Illness – Spurs
Iron Man. pic.twitter.com/PM2TJjNt9L
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) August 28, 2023
In terms of effect on the pitch, Fernandes has also contributed significantly.
He ranks 1st for big chances created and joint 4th for goals amongst midfielders.
He’s also racked up the joint 5th most tackles and is 2nd for distance covered.
📸 – Bruno Fernandes has covered the 2nd most distance by a player so far this season in the Premier League.🔴🇵🇹 pic.twitter.com/kGqDg8TZ5s
— 𝗧𝗲𝗻 𝗛𝗮𝗴’𝘀 𝗥𝗲𝗱𝘀 ✍🏼🇳🇱 (@TenHagBall_) September 13, 2023
He is returning to the United squad after a fulfilling international week where he starred for Portugal and United will be hoping for more from their talisman.
Ten Hag will be hoping Fernandes’ team mates can use their captain as the benchmark of performance level they have to hit if they are to improve this season.