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Manchester United returned to winning ways with a resounding 4-0 win over Real Sociedad in the Europa League on Thursday night.
That man again Bruno Fernandes was at the center of all the good stuff too, scoring twice (no, they weren’t penalties) to bring his tally to 21 season goals for the Red Devils. Marcus Rashford and Dan James completed the victory with an impressive performance as United dominated after a shaky ten-minute start.
Fernandes’ performance was also memorable and showed that he has returned to his best. Nobody made more shots than him on the day (3), nobody made more tackles (3), nobody made more key passes (3). He was the best player on the field for a country mile.
With 21 goals now this campaign, he only needs eight more goals to become the player with the most goals in a single season for Manchester United since Robin van Persie in 2012/13.
So with that information, and knowing how important it is to the way Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side performs, why do people keep talking about moving it around?
There have been some calls for him to move to the forehand position to help fill that void in the Reds’ attack, while also taking him out of central areas where he tends to give away the ball a lot.
There have also been calls for him to play as a forward, with his movement and shooting ability overshadowing the current attacking options of Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani. But why would anyone want to do that?
With all the gaps in this current United, Fernandes’ position is one that doesn’t need to be adjusted in any way or shape.
If the strikers don’t work, then the strikers must adjust. If the right wing is not working on the side then that needs to be changed. But it is not necessary to fix what is not broken, and Fernandes as number ten is far from broken.
Without a doubt, he is one of the most productive players in the world right now; removing him from his current position is pointless.
United and Solskjaer need to build the team around the strengths they have, rather than trying to fill the gaps they don’t have by using those players: Fernandes at number ten, Rashford on left wing, Paul Pogba in midfield and for default. Harry Maguire in central defense.
There is your spine, and you work to improve the rest without moving them. Manchester United’s best chance of success and progress in the future is to face their best players in their best positions.
Asking Fernandes to change positions and remain as productive as he has been seems counterproductive. While he might be the best spiker right now, his serve would suffer without him in that midfield role. His combative style would be greatly missed in the core areas if it were expanded to fill that deficiency.
There may be advantages to moving it, with some areas more blessed with depth than others on the team, but there are many more disadvantages. It just doesn’t seem sensible to play with functional parts when there are so many parts that don’t work.
That means you leave Fernandes exactly where he is and don’t touch him. He can have just about everything around him as moving parts, but he’s essential for something good to happen at Old Trafford right now.