The Bruno Effect

Manchester United survived an early scare against Watford to triumph 3-0 in a game where the visitors will feel hard done by. Before the 58th minute, when Anthony Martial’s brilliant finish killed the game at 2-0, Watford were menacingly probing the United defense and even had a goal from a corner rejected by VAR. Ultimately, The Hornets were dismantled by the new kid on the block: Bruno Fernandes. Without the Portuguese play maker, United might not have gotten all three points from this game.

See also: United’s Frustrating Transfer Sagas

Earlier this season, United were soundly beaten 2-0 by Watford in one of Nigel Pearson’s first few games in the job. The Red Devils were woeful and yet again showed they could not pierce defenses that laid deep. They were only a counter-attacking team, relying on players like Martial, Rashford and James to make the difference on the break.

Even though the team has four play makers on the roster, they have struggled to break weaker opposition all season. Paul Pogba has been injured for too long. Jesse Lingard has been out of form for more than a year now. Juan Mata has shown glimpses of his class but his lack of pace means he slows United’s offensive game too much. Andreas Pereira is inconsistent and at best, a squad player.

All of this lead to United bringing in a long term fix in Sporting Lisbon captain Bruno Fernandes. After an ever-lasting transfer saga, the likes of which frustrate the hell out of fans, Fernandes finally moved to Old Trafford in the January transfer window. His class could immediately be seen on the pitch and off the pitch, as a former captain for a top European club, he will be surely be one of the leaders in the dressing room.

Against a tightly packed Watford defense, Bruno Fernandes won and converted a penalty. Then he set up Martial and Greenwood for the second and third goals respectively. In three games, Bruno already has one goal and two assists. His presence in the team has elevated their offensive game and Solskjaer is already drawing comparisons to Veron and Scholes.

There was one sequence of action early on in the game, where Fernandes passed the ball forward towards Greenwood, in behind the Watford defense, from a deep lying midfielder position. It was a pass reminiscent of Paul Pogba at his best and showed what United had been missing in the Frenchman’s absence.

It’s safe to say the Bruno Fernandes transfer is now looking like a bargain for United. The Portuguese playmaker will be a cog in Solskjaer’s machine going forward. Solskjaer is still unable to select his best eleven due to the unfortunate injuries that have hit his squad in a season of rebuild. Once he has everybody fit, which will most likely be in the 2020/2021 preseason, United will be much better off.

Manchester United’s potential best XI


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