Man Utd 2-0 Man City: The Reds complete the league double over the Citizens as they continue to push for a top four finish

After dropping points away to Everton in their last league game, Manchester United’s intention were the three points only in their next fixture, which was against no one else but their local rivals in Manchester City at Old Trafford. They went on to achieve the victory with conviction, as the team managed to do the league double over the Citizens for the first time since the 2009/10 season.

Due to Chelsea and Sheffield United winning their respective games whilst Leicester City face Aston Villa on Monday night, it was a must win game for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his men, who were quite confident going into the game as Pep Guardiola’s key man in Kevin De Bruyne was unavailable to play because of a shoulder injury. And without the Belgian international, Man City were still able to dominate possession, but did not have the cutting edge of quality to create the key chances.

The visitors, as expected, were in full control of the game from the first second of the game to the final whistle, as they went on to achieve 73% possession of the ball and just under 150 passes in the attack third compared to United’s 50 successful passes in the final third. However, it was the hosts that made the key moments count, as the crucial goals from Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay were more than enough for the side to pick up much needed victory to go back into fifth-place.

At the end of the day, the noisy neighbours simply did not have much to play for in the league and did not bring their A Game to a fixture they have dominated on so many occasions over the past three to five seasons. On the other hand, the Red Devils had the motivation of the manager and most importantly the whole of Old Trafford behind them, to proceed onto winning the game.

Here are the three things we learnt from United’s latest league game…

The back-three/five setup is proving to be the perfect plan for the Red Devils

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has not had a regular system or style of play in place that has been consistently successful and effective at the same time. However, the back-three/five setup fits the current squad of players like a glove, as it allows the team to totally nullify the opposition’s attack before going onto producing a few attacks of their own. The perfect example was honestly from today’s game, as City had managed to create one chance and complete just seven shots throughout the whole game.

And when United had their time and space on the ball, they were able to counter attack through the likes of Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes and Daniel James, who were offering the perfect mixture of creativity, movement and burst of pace on and off the ball. Meanwhile in midfield, Fred and Nemanja Matic did more than enough to cover the middle of the pitch, two individuals who have the aggression and intelligence to protect the backline whilst help the team to push high up the pitch.

Solskjaer’s record against the top-six teams continues to grow and flourish

For sure, after doing the league double over Chelsea and now over Man City, the talks about Solskjaer’s incredible record in the big games will continue to increase, as he has played the top-six teams on 12 occasions in all competition so far this season, having won seven times, drawn twice and lost three times. This is actually quite a positive record for a young manager who does not have the greatest of squads and is still missing the key individuals in Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba.

As long as he is able to do the double over Jose Mourinho’s Spurs next week as well as pick up maximum points in the remaining league games, to help the side qualify for next year’s Champions League football, he may end up managing the club for another couple of years, despite the recent rumours of Max Allegri or Mauricio Pochettino taking over as manager. And if he does end up doing the unthinkable, the board will have no choice but to back him up in the summer, which could lead to a potential charge for the league title along with possible success in the domestic competition.

The complete performance from the likes of Bruno, Martial and Wan-Bissaka

The whole United starting line-up played intelligently and superbly from start till end, even the likes of Eric Bailly, Scott McTominay and Odion Ighalo had put on quite the perfect cameo from the bench towards the last 15 to 20 minutes of the game. However, the key individuals that stood out the most were none other than Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes, three important players that are pure specialists in their expertise and are truly indispensable from the first XI.

Wan-Bissaka, who has been the side’s player of the season just after Fred, has got the whole right flank on lockdown time and time again, as he successfully kept Raheem Sterling in his pocket for the third time this campaign. Bruno Fernandes, since arriving to United in January, has completely transformed the team around and has helped to bring the best out of a number of players. Finally on Martial; he has had a lot of unnecessary criticism towards him in recent weeks, but his performance as well as his key goal to give his team the lead should be enough to see him getting back to his best.

Everton 1-1 Man Utd: Solskjaer’s men fail to take the advantage as they pick up a point at Goodison Park

After seeing both Leicester City and Chelsea drop crucial points in their respective games as well as sixth-place Tottenham Hotspur going head-to-head with eight-place Wolves on Sunday afternoon, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United had the potential of taking the advantage, which was dependent on if they could go away to Goodison Park and pick up the three points against Everton.

Looking at the match as a whole, the visitors had dominated possession but were missing the cutting edge in the final third of the pitch, which could not be provided as the likes of Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood were closely marked by the Everton defence. On the other hand, the host went onto complete more shots and actually created three big chances, but the opportunities were not taken, and David De Gea did more than enough to bounce back from his error early in the game.

It took just three minutes for Everton to take the lead, as De Gea thought he had enough space and time on the ball to clear it away, and when he did so, the ball was kicked right onto Dominic Calvert-Lewin and into the back of the net. This was the Spaniard’s seventh error that led to a direct goal since the start of last season, making him the joint-most with Bernd Leno and Martin Dubravka.

Although it took them ten minutes to regroup and sort out the organisation within midfield, United went onto dominate the rest of the first half as they were superbly shifting the play from side to side and playing at a high tempo. And because of their pressing high up the play, they caught Everton out in the right moment where they were playing the ball out from the back, which allowed Bruno Fernandes to pick up the ball and fire his low shot past Jordan Pickford to get the needed equaliser.

The second half was one-sided, with the hosts edging out the control in possession and were attacking the United defence on all fronts, especially with players such as Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Victor Lindelof on a yellow card. The Toffees huge and final chance came in the last moments of the game, where Calvert-Lewin’s attempt took a slight deflection off Maguire’s before reaching the corner of the net, but the Video Assistance Referee ruled the goal out eventually as Gylfi Sigurdsson was in an offside position and was apparently obstructing the goalkeeper’s view from the play.

In the end, United failed to make things count when it mattered the most, whilst Everton will be disappointed that they only picked up a point and the winning goal was unfortunately ruled out in the dying seconds of the match. The Red Devils remain in fifth-place, still three points behind Chelsea, as Carlo Ancelotti’s men sit in eleventh-place just below Arsenal due to goal difference.

With no further ado, here are the three things we learnt from United’s latest league game…

United’s defensive issues continue as De Gea and Lindelof fail to perform

For sure, United are undefeated in all competitions and have completed six clean sheets since the disastrous loss to Burnley back in January, but the fact still remains that the side’s backline is not good enough to guide the team to a top four finish or help them to challenge for the Europa League trophy. Despite bolstering this department up with the arrivals of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire, the side are conceding way too many chances and most importantly, a lot of cheap goals.

The weakness within the backline happens to be both David De Gea and Victor Lindelof, two individuals who have not shown the consistency and quality that shows they are good enough to play week in and out. With their lack of concentration and incapability to be intelligent in the key moments, they are seriously preventing the team from progressing as a whole.

The main solution to this would be to replace Lindelof with Eric Bailly, who has returned to full fitness recently and is seen as the best centre-back in the squad, and in with De Gea, his place in the team will be under huge amount of pressure once Dean Henderson returns to the club in the summer, who is having a superb season at Sheffield United.

Bruno Fernandes continue to show his quality and comes up with the goods

Since arriving to Manchester United on the final days of the January window, Bruno Fernandes has gone to be a huge influence for the side, on and off the ball, as he continues to show his incredible quality time and time again. With two goals and two assists in four league appearances, he is proving to be the heartbeat of the team and the one to get the best out of his teammates, which is exactly the type of player that the Red Devils have been missing for the last couple of years, in all honesty.

The 25-year-old was working his magic in a number of different areas today, whether it was in the number ten role, the deep midfield position centrally or on the left flank, he was making a statement that he is not a limited player and he has a lot in his locker to offer to the team. United seriously have a phenomenal  player who is more than capable of being placed into the category of world class players or just below it, especially if he helps them to somehow reach Champions League football, but it’s up to the manager and the squad to look after him and also get the best out of him.

The Red Devils have a number of huge games coming up in the month of March

Derby, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Sheffield United and the Europa League tie against Austrian side LASK. There are six huge games for both Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the month of March, which will play a crucial part towards the final third of the season and if the club’s season is a successful one or not. As things stand, the campaign will go down as a failure, due to no Champions League football next season and no success in any of the other competition, and this will lead to a difficult summer window of not being able to attract the much required players.

However, everything can turn around in a matter of matches, as the side are three points behind Chelsea, who have only won two league games this year and have a few difficult games coming up in the league. And in the Europa League, the team look to have a straightforward tie and could have a simple route to the final if the other results in the competition go their way and if they receive some luck in the draws. And not only that, Paul Pogba has returned to regular training and Marcus Rashford could potentially be back in April, two great players who are game changers and winners.

Premier League: Best 11 Players from Week 27

Let’s take a look below at the best 11 performing players in the Premier League as European finishes hot up with just 11 games left to play.

Formation: 4-4-2:

Goalkeeper: Ederson- Manchester City 7pts

It might seem normal to pick out Ederson for Manchester City but the player had to come up against the 3rd best side in the league in Leicester and made some great saves and City were away from home in game they won 1-0. That was Ederson’s 9th clean sheet of the season.

Defender: Romain Saiss- Southampton 7pts

Wolves had a great and commanding 3-0 victory over Norwich to boost their European hopes and Saiss was part of a defence that kept a clean sheet and he assisted in a goal.

Defender: Philllip Bardsley- Burnley 6pts

Stalwart Bardsley helped clean a keep sheet as Burnley won their game 3-0 and he also scored a goal but he got booked and lost some points. But he has been very solid this season.

Defender: Ashley Westwood- Burnley 5pts

Westwood isn’t seen too many times on the weekend best players, but he put in a very good performance at the weekend and made some crucial tackles and that was the players 10th clean sheet of the season.

Defender: Patrick van Aanholt- Crystal Palace 9pts

Patrick van Aanholt was spectacular in earning 9 points at the weekend as Palace beat Newcastle. The score finished 1-0 so he kept a clean sheet and he also scored the only goal of the game which turned out to be the winner and a much needed 3 points for the club.

Midfielder: Diogo Jota- Wolves 10pts

Dioja Jota earned a fantastic 10 points at the weekend as Wolves beat Norwich 3-0 and it wa down to Jota who scored the opening 2 goals he now has 5 goals for the season and looks back to his best.

Midfielder: Bruno Fernandes- Manchester United 8pts

Bruno Fernandes has started his career off at Manchester United very well and the player opened the scoring and then assisted in the last goal as United beat Watford 3-0.

Midfielder: Riyad Mahrez- Manchester City 4pts

Riyad Mahrez helped his club beat his former one as City ran out 1-0 winners against Leicester. The only goal was scored by Gabriel Jesus and it was Mahrez who made the assist. That was Mahrez’s 8th assist of the season!

Midfielder: Neal Maupay- Brighton 4pts

Brighton are under pressure but they got a very good 1-1 draw away to Sheffield United at the weekend, where many expected them to lose. Maupay got the goal for the away side which was so important for them and he has now scored 8 goals this season.

Striker: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang- Arsenal 8pts

Arsenal were involved in a five goal thriller as they beat Everton 3-2. Aubameyang scored 2 goals and now has 17 and is joint top of the goalscorers list in the Premier League with Leicester’s Jamie Vardy.

Striker: Shane Long- Southampton 4pts

Shane Long scored just his 2nd goal of the campaign as Southampton beat Aston Villa 2-0 in a crucial win. That keeps the team up there and Villa back in fighting for survival.

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Man Utd 3-0 Watford: The Reds Devils move up to fifth place as Bruno Fernandes shines once again

After seeing the likes of Leicester City, Sheffield United and Tottenham Hotspur drop crucial points on Saturday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United went on to beat Nigel Pearson’s Watford in what was quite the comfortable and straightforward victory at Old Trafford on a Sunday afternoon.

Ahead of the game, the main thoughts on a United point of view was if they can taken the advantage for once from the results of the other teams above them, as they have failed to do so on many occasions throughout the season and it is why they are currently not in the top four positions. Meanwhile, for Watford, who still remain in the relegation zone and just a point away from safety, the questions were if they could pull off an upset against a big side or would their poor run continue.

Looking at it as a whole, the hosts had unsurprisingly dominated possession from start to end, along with creating a couple of clear-cut chances and completing just under 10 shots on target. Although it took the side some time to get into the game, with the visitors pressing high up the pitch and causing a number of problems, they were able to play on the front foot after the half hour period.

With the crucial goals coming from the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood, the side were able to work on their inconsistent home form and show to the neutral supporters that the race for a top four finish is not over anytime soon. And the side should have had a fourth goal here and there, but Daniel James was sadly not convincing enough in front of goal.

On the other hand, the Hornets posed a decent threat through a few set pieces and on the counter-attack, with a goal from Troy Deeney being harshly ruled out due to an apparent handball from Craig Dawson. Watford will want to work on their performances and decision making in the final third of the pitch, as they did not create a single chance and ended the game with just four shots completed.

In the end, United made the advantage count and picked up the much needed win, allowing them to move above Tottenham Hotspur and Sheffield United into fifth place. And for Nigel Pearson’s Watford, there will be a huge amount of concerns and fears on what is in store for them for the rest of the season, as they still need to face the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal.

Here are the three things we learnt in United’s latest league fixture…

Bruno Fernandes completes another perfect performance

Completing one goal and one assist in his third league game for Manchester United, it just feels like Bruno Fernandes has been playing in the Premier League and at Old Trafford for a number of years. Once again, he has shown the capability that he can play in many areas and is able to be seen as the heartbeat of the side’s attack, as he continues to show his intelligence and class on and off the ball.

As long as the movement and pace are up there in the final third of the pitch, he is able to create the clear-cut chances that the likes of Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood are always looking for. With Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba still remaining on the sidelines and are not expected to return from injury anytime soon, Solskjaer along with the squad are blessed with an individual that they can depend and rely on, who is able to create something out of nothing and is also quite a vocal leader.

The Red Devils produce the ideal result and performance after a long time

It’s been a long time since United have been able to match the three points along with a convincing performance and a number of goals. The last time they completed that, was against Norwich in the second week of January, which still feels like a long time ago for a side that wants to reach Champions League football and start challenging for the league title once again. Despite the lack of quality and squad depth, the team are making small steps of progress, whether it can be seen or not.

Having won back-to-back league games for the third time this campaign, the side’s consistency and effectiveness on both sides of the pitch is starting to show its rewards, as they once looked close to finishing in the middle of the league but are now a couple of points behind fourth-place Chelsea. With the side yet to reach their peak and are still missing a few key individuals within the line-up, who knows what the squad are capable of achieving if they all have the same winning mindset.

Can Solskjaer do the unthinkable and guide the team to a top four finish?

For sure, the side’s chances of finishing in the top four does look slim, especially when you consider the difficult run of games United still have and how they are also busy with the Europa League fixtures. However, if the results in the remaining league matches go in their favour and they are able to pick up maximum points from now till the end, anything can really happen in the Premier League.

The victory against Watford makes it their 11th league win of the season, with only the four teams above United that have won more games than them so far this campaign. And given the situation that the noisy neighbours Manchester City have found themselves in with the UEFA, with them receiving a two-year ban from Champions League football, it could potentially mean that if Solskjaer’s Manchester United were to finish in fifth-place, they could actually qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Man Utd: Why the winter break has come at a perfect time for the club and the manager

With the new rule of the winter break kicking into place within the Premier League, Manchester United are one of the many clubs that will have a two week rest and a recovery period until their next league game. Given the side’s results in January, picking up only three points out of a potential 12, majority of the United supporters would agree that this break has come as a blessing in disguise.

With the league defeats to the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Burnley as well as being kicked out of the EFL Cup semi-finals to the noisy neighbours in Manchester City, there hasn’t been many enjoyable moments for United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last month. However, the arrivals of Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo will have some people excited and looking forward to the final months of the season, as the side are still in the FA Cup, Europa League and six points away from top four.

Focusing a little bit on Bruno and Ighalo, this 14-day break will give them a lot of bonding and connecting time to get to know one another as well as the rest of the players in the dressing room, who will be more than glad to see that they have a new playmaker and a new striker to work around for the rest of the season. Having only scored four goals in their last five league games, with all of them coming at home to Norwich, the side’s creativity and goals have instantly dried up since the unfortunate injury to Marcus Rashford.

As the first week of the two-week winter break has come to an end, Solskjaer and the full squad have spent a number of days doing intense training in the warm weather in Spain as they look to improve their concentration and focus levels before they take on the final months of the season. And on top of that, the good news is that Scott McTominay has returned from injury whilst Paul Pogba is taking small steps to recovery.

The break should give the manager some time to think of a more effective plan as well as a useful backup idea, as the current system and tactics are simply not working at all, with the side in eight place within the Premier League and are six points behind fourth-place Chelsea. They actually take on Frank Lampard’s men straight after the winter break is over, and if they do not take the three points away from the Stamford Bridge, then they should consider their hopes of finishing in the top four completely over.

To be brutally honest, the side’s chances of achieving Champions League football for next season through a top four finish is very, very low, as the team have already dropped a lot of points away from home and still have the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Leicester City and Tottenham Hotspur to play from now till the end of the season. However, the team have their only hope of success through the Europa League, a competition they have previously won in the 2016-17 campaign under Jose Mourinho.

Then again, the quality in the Europa League has increased massively in recent years, as well-known teams such as Ajax, Inter Milan and Sevilla, are in the knockout stages of the competition and are hoping to do their all to get to the finals. Also, the quality and squad depth that United had when they previously won the Europa League compared to what they have now is a massive decline itself, as the lack of options in the squad leaves the manager with no choice but to use the players from the academy setup.

Overall, if the players and most importantly the manager, are not able to turn it around, then it will be another a difficult summer for everyone that is at the football club, as Manchester United continue to fall further and further behind from their main rivals in Liverpool and Manchester City. And not only that, but another season without a top four finish and another year where a managerial change has to take place, will have the Old Trafford faithful questioning what is actually happening to the club and when will the decline come to an end.

Man Utd 0-0 Wolves: The Red Devils drop points at home again as they move down to sixth place

With both Chelsea and Leicester City dropping two points each in the early kick-off on Saturday afternoon, it gave Manchester United some hope as well as some wishful thinking that a potential victory over Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves would allow them to close the gap on the top four positions. However, that was not the case, as the match at Old Trafford ended in a boring stalemate.

The match was expected to be quite a slow-moving and dull fixture on both sides of the pitch, mainly because of Wolves and their pragmatic setup in a back-three system whilst United simply do not have the quality to create the key chances and also convert them. In the end, none of the sides were able to take the game by the scruff of the neck as the points were equally shared by both teams.

This was actually United’s fifth league game of 2020, as the side ended up achieving only four points out of a potential 15 ahead of the winter break, which does raise the question on if the Red Devils are good enough to push for a top four finish. Meanwhile, Wolves are on level for points with United but are just lower than them due to goal difference, as they continue their season in pure silence.

Here are the three things we learnt from United’s latest league game…

Bruno Fernandes produces a bright performance on his Old Trafford debut

For sure, there was no goals or assists produced to complete his performance, but Bruno Fernandes was showing off his quality on and off the ball, as he went onto show his intelligence tactically whilst proving to be a dangerous threat going forward. Although he was playing in a much more deeper role than what he was used to in his days at Sporting Lisbon, he had clearly saw the difficulties the side had with progressing the ball with intensity and decided to take matters into his own hands.

With the likes of Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba expected to return from suspension or injuries after the winter break and towards the end of the month, it would certainly allow the Portuguese international to play high up the pitch and focus on creating chances and scoring from distance, which is what he naturally specialises in. Once the midfield options come back, United will definitely be expected to control and dominates games with ease and no problems.

Lack of intelligence and movement in the attacking department lets United down

When you dominate the possession of the ball by 64%, complete 15 shots in 90 minutes, despite creating only one big chance, the ongoing issues have to be raised on the lack of attacking combinations and patterns that the Old Trafford faithful are witnessing. Sometimes, it feels like the players in the team are playing with one another for the first time, as they are unable to create or complete a progressive rhythm of passes, in order to help the side to build the play up effectively.

United’s go-to-man has been Marcus Rashford this season, someone who has the pace, dribbling ability and movement on and off the ball to cause a number of defenders massive worries, no matter if he is playing on the flanks or through the middle. However, since he has been on the sidelines, the other attackers within the squad have been unable to step up and rise to the occasion, as individuals such as Anthony Martial, Andreas Pereira and Daniel James have been below par.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s in-game management has to improve or he will not last long

When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made the double substitution of Diogo Dalot and Jesse Lingard for Daniel James and Juan Mata, there were quite a bit of groans and moans around Old Trafford as well as from the Manchester United supporters on social media, purely because of the fact that it took the manager until the 88th minute of the game to make the changes and push for the win. Despite the lack of quality and depth in the squad, Solskjaer has to have a backup plan for him to rely on, and has he does not have a plan A or plan B, it is high unlikely that he will succeed at Manchester United.

Since the arrival of Solskjaer on a permanent basis, there has not been that many players that have actually improved or been taken to the next level, besides the individuals that have been promoted from the youth academy. Not only that, 25 league games into the season, the side have only been able to pick up nine wins and eight draws, as they are currently experiencing a season of a low tally of points, which has not been witnessed even under the likes of David Moyes or Louis Van Gaal.

Will Bruno Fernandes to Manchester United actually happen this time around?

It’s that time again. With most of the January transfer window completed, the transfer rumours circulating around Manchester United continue to increase and rise day after day, which is no longer a surprise as the English media and the European outlets enjoy using the Premier League giant’s name, in order for them to gain more attention and awareness towards their daily coverage.

So far this month, the club have been already linked to the likes of Jude Bellingham, Jack Grealish, James Maddison, Raul Jimenez and many other players. However, over the last couple of days, the consistent and strong reports have been to no one else but Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Fernandes, who was actually on the club’s radar throughout the whole summer but nothing concrete came from it.

Half a year later, the interest has been revived between both clubs, as the press in England and Portugal are more than certain that a deal can be agreed on by all parties before the transfer window comes to an end. Given the financial issues that Sporting are currently going through, they would still be looking to demand a fee of around €70million for the 25-year-old, however, the Red Devils seem quiet confident that an offer of £45million plus £10millions in add-ons will be enough.

With both Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba on the sidelines, and are expected to remain out of action till the latter stages of the season, the lack of creativity, goals and quality within the line-up instantly dries up as they have lost to the likes of Arsenal, Burnley and Liverpool this month. In all three of those games, they failed to score in either of them or create any chances convincingly.

And when you looking at the situation from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s point of view, it doesn’t take much to find an upgrade on certain attacking midfielders such as Andreas Pereira, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata, a few examples of individuals that have been utilised within the number ten role but have failed to come up with the end product in the final third. If Bruno was to come in, he’d fit perfectly in the playmaker role, linking up effectively with both Anthony Martial and Daniel James.

Not only that, but the Sporting captain has more to his game than his ability to shoot from distance and to create clear-cut chances with ease, as he continues to prove himself as a player that never hides away from the ball or the game. He is also regarded as a complete midfielder, chipping in with the defensive duties whilst showing his tactical intelligence and positioning in the advanced areas.

Also, in regards to the intelligence he shows within the game, he has the quality to drive his team forward from midfield through his dribbling and movement on and off the ball. The intelligence he possess, most certainly allows him to be in the right place at the right time, whether that’s in the final third of the pitch to latch onto the ball or make a crucial tackle on the defensive phase.

United’s main issues have been breaking down the teams that setup in a defensive low block and oppositions that are more than happy to sit in their own third of the pitch for majority of the game. However, with the potential arrival of Bruno, the side would have a playmaker and an attacking midfielder than can be the game changer, something they have been sorely missing for a long time.

Overall, it would not be a surprise to see the board and Ed Woodward failing to pay up to Sporting Lisbon’s demands in order for Bruno Fernandes to arrive to Old Trafford, as they have choked up on a number of similar deals in the past. On the other hand, if they were able to snap up the Portuguese international before the transfer window is over, it would be the perfect news for Solskjaer and the Old Trafford faithful, who have not been enjoying the last couple of weeks with a very thin squad.

Should Real Madrid return for Bruno Fernandes in January?

Paul Pogba was the central midfielder Zinedine Zidane wanted. The Real Madrid manager reportedly believed that the French midfielder would be delivered to him by Florentino Perez over the summer. When it became clear that Pogba would stay at Manchester United for at least another season Real Madrid shifted their aim.

Christian Eriksen was mentioned as a potential target, but in the final days of the summer transfer window Bruno Fernandes emerged as Real Madrid’s best option. The Portuguese midfielder had been linked with both Man Utd and Tottenham over the summer, but was left on the shelf as Premier League interest was overstated.

In the end, Fernandes’ proposed move to the Santiago Bernabeu never materialised, but there is talk that Real Madrid could return for him once the January transfer window opens. Would that be the right move, though? Is Fernandes what Zidane’s team needs at this moment?

While the start to the season was difficult for Real Madrid, they have started to find some form and consistency in recent weeks. Since losing to Real Mallorca before the last international break, they have gone unbeaten, winning four of five and keeping clean sheets in all five fixtures.

Their midfield has looked a lot better as well with Fede Valverde becoming a key figure over the past few weeks. Both Toni Kroos and Luka Modric have upped their performance levels, but Zidane still seemingly wants another attacking midfielder and Fernandes could well fit the bill for him.

Fernandes has kept his form from last season going and then some. The 25-year-old has five goals and five assists in 10 league appearances this season as well as three goals and an assist in four Europa League games. The Portuguese international has actually improved on the standard he set for himself over the 2018/19 campaign.

Pogba might still be Real Madrid’s dream signing, with the Frenchman still believed to be unhappy at Old Trafford. It’s entirely possible that he will still make the move to the Spanish capital at one point, possibly at the end of the season, but Zidane might feel he needs someone sooner than that. In that case, he do a lot worse than Fernandes, a player who looks ready for the next step in his career. That next step could carry him to the Santiago Bernabeu.

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