United's Magnificent Mad Scientist

Bruno Fernandes has been nothing short of sensational since he has joined Manchester United. He solved our number 10 crisis almost instantly and has become the focal point around which Manchester United have started to build up plays. We take a look at what has changed since his arrival and why he has had the Eric Cantona like effect on Manchester United.


With Bruno Fernandes on the pitch, there is always a chance that United will score. Our Portuguese magnifico currently has 23 goals for the club since his arrival in January. Another thing that ought to be mentioned here is that he is a midfielder. These numbers are supposed to be for strikers but he’s pulled it off. This was actually previously known about him – the fact that he scores a lot of goals from midfield when he smashed home 32 goals in the season prior to his arrival in Manchester.

The reason he scores so many goals is simple. He gets into positions that create the opportunity for him. His movement is excellent. Also, he is an excellent penalty and free-kick taker with a good range for shooting. These qualities combined make him the threat he is and it is important for teams to mark him tightly because if they don’t his predatory instincts will make them pay.


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer likes to set his team up in a 4 – 2 – 3 – 1 with three pacy forwards who like to cut inside and a double pivot to provide defensive cover to a, currently, shaky defense. In this system, the bulk of creativity falls on the number 10. Before Bruno’s arrival, Manchester United had tested with Andreas Pereira, Juan Mata, and Jesse Lingard in the position but all three were not creative enough and as a result, United struggled to break down teams that sat in a low block. Because of this United lost easy games which they are technically supposed to win and sat 9th in the table.

At the point of Bruno’s arrival, Solskjaer’s job was under threat as Champions League football just seemed too far out to reach. Since his arrival, United didn’t lose a game in the Premier League that season as they finished as ‘The best of the rest’ after a final day victory against Leicester who had similar ambitions. Since his arrival, United have only lost 8 games and only sit behind Liverpool in the form table.

Bruno vs the most creative players last season [Image Courtesy of Sky Sports]

Bruno operates as a roaming playmaker who likes to come deep to get the ball and get it into dangerous areas. He has a pass and move style that intends to rotate the ball as frequently as possible. His football intelligence is also key here. He looks to almost always make the right decision on what to do. Prior to his arrival, because of the inability of the number 10s to create anything, the bulk of the creative burden fell on the defensive pivot in midfield.