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Genuine question: Are there any other teams in the Premier League that are lake depends on a player?
I would risk a guess “no.”
At the break from Manchester United’s trip to West Ham United, the scenes on Twitter were of rage, anger and deja vu … again. Fans had seen this performance a hundred times before in the last few seasons, only this screen was particularly bathtub.
The Hammers had ripped Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men limb by limb, and the fact that they were coached by defensive-minded former Manchester United player David Moyes contributed to the humiliation and pressure that was building up on the manager. Norwegian.
Surely, he couldn’t survive this embarrassment.
However, he has a trick up his sleeve. And that trick comes in the form of the most demanding, creative and inspiring attacking midfielder in the country.
Shortly before kick-off, Solskjaer had confirmed that the Portuguese star would start the match on the bench and, if all goes according to plan, he would not have to step on the London Stadium turf at all.
Yet 45 minutes into the game, and there he was, poised and ready, ready for action.
Given how bad the Red Devils were in the first half, it felt as if even Fernandes’ presentation could do little to stem this tide as West Ham flew forward again and again, cutting the Man Utd defense to slats. absolute.
In truth, the game should be over and dusted off at halftime. If it were a boxing match, the referee would have given time to the fight and would have brought the injured and blind victim out of his misery.
Fortunately for Solskjaer, those rules don’t exist in our sport.
Instead, he was given a chance to rectify his mistakes and threw Fernandes into the bear pit, probably whispering in his ear: ‘save me Bruno, you are my only hope.’ And what developed was one of the most remarkable halves of football that we will see from a player in the English top flight.
Fernandes immediately began operating in spaces his teammates had been unable to detect in the first half, pushing opponents out of their comfort zone and throwing defenders back and forth. Now, with a man in position to receive a pass, Manchester United ballgame defender Harry Maguire had a free partner to find, and the Red Devils suddenly became incredibly vertical and penetrating.
It didn’t take him long to make his mark. Passing the channels from a Dean Henderson pump downfield, Fernandes was the first on the long pass on the right touchline, and moving inside, he found Paul Pogba in space about 25 yards from goal.
What the Frenchman produced was simply extraordinary, and his crisp and majestic goal was undoubtedly the flame that ignited the tactile paper.
But Fernandes was the match.
His willingness and intelligence to work in other areas of the field allowed Pogba his freedom, and he made the most of it. Even Pogba himself seemed to relish the arrival of his midfield partner, as the weight of the world fell from his shoulders and onto the substitutes.
Fortunately, he’s not only an incredibly talented creator, he’s also a leader. Fernandes set the example and demanded the same from his colleagues, who finally followed suit. The almost equally shocking Marcus Rashford was found time and again by the passing master, and the forward should have added a third when his supplier played on goal, but could only hit the post.
At the center of it all was Fernandes. He managed to create eight chances in the course of 45 minutes, for a team that had barely called up one in the first half. Those eight chances, as pointed out Statman Dave, were more than any player has accomplished in the full 90 minutes this season, let alone in medium that moment.
Literally, single-handedly, he transformed a game that seemed out of reach with the flick of a switch.
It was the performance of a man who was hired to lead Man Utd to glory. You may not be able to do it all yourself, but let’s face it, based on evidence from Saturday, it’s very close to becoming a one-man show.
Wrap Fernandes in Ole in cotton, but for God’s sake don’t try to get him to rest again.