Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described the January signing of Bruno Fernandes as an ‘X-factor’ to Manchester United.
Whilst every sports betting site including bestsportsbetz.com had United among the favourites to finish in the top four pre-season, they have a tough battle on their hands with 11 games to go. The only consistency they have shown is since the arrival of Bruno Fernandes.
Manchester United will be hoping they can continue this form when they face a tough test on Sunday with a trip to Everton in the Premier League. The Toffees are in fine form since hiring Carlo Ancelotti in December, though were beaten 3-2 away to Arsenal last weekend.
The Toffees will be desperate for three points this weekend if they’re to get back in the hunt for a Champions League spot, whilst a draw may be of little use for the visitors themselves.
Online sports betting sites aren’t too sure which way to call this game, with United 9/5 to win and the hosts 6/4.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of the visit of Club Brugge in the Europa League on Thursday, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer compared the club’s latest permanent signing to club legend Paul Scholes, as well as Juan Sebastian Veron.
The Portuguese superstar has made an immediate effect with the Red Devils – putting in man of the match candidate performances in his first three Premier League starts – a 0-0 draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers, a 2-0 win at Chelsea and the 3-0 thrashing of Watford last weekend.
Solskjaer has deployed the 25-year-old in different roles against the three different opponents he has faced – a deep-lying midfielder, an attacking midfielder and in the number 10 role.
So far it has had no negative effect on Fernandes, who has been excellent in each appearance in his early days. The victory over Chelsea was particularly pleasing as this is the team that United are chasing for a top four finish. There are now three points between the two, with Chelsea sitting in fourth.
Bruno has already scored once and setup three more in his early days at Old Trafford since arriving from Sporting Club of Portugal last month.
Solskjaer’s side have been boosted by getting a few healthy bodies back in his side in recent weeks – Eric Bailly being a key one among them. The improvement in form of Nemanja Matic and Fred has also been vital for their upcharge in form. Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba and Lee Grant are his only current absentees.
Ultimately though, if Manchester United are to finish in the top four between now and May, and qualify for next season’s Champions League, it may come down to the performances of Bruno Fernandes.
As he showed for a number of years in his homeland, the attacking midfielder is both a goalscorer and playmaker. Sitting him in a central attacking position has to be the perfect role for him over the remaining months of the season.