Marouane Fellaini does an important job for Manchester United and should be respected

It had been a year of back and forth with Manchester United desperately trying to tie down Marouane Fellaini to a new contract as he entered into his final year. Even when January approached and the Belgian was free to sign a pre-contract with a European club of his choosing and move away for free, José Mourinho pleaded with the United board in order to get this over the line.

It is no secret that Manchester United fans have had a rollercoaster of a relationship with Fellaini over the years. After being David Moyes’ only signing the summer he took over from Sir Alex Ferguson, fans were never going to take to him well without others being brought through the door with him.

Given he is also an unorthodox United player that is full of technical ability, it only worsened matters when they found out the club had overpaid for Fellaini due to his buy-out clause expiring earlier in the summer.

Fellaini left it until late in the day – and while with Belgium on international duty – to announce that he had signed a new and improved two-year deal that will keep him at the club until he’s 32-years-old. While there was uproar from certain corners of supporters given the embarrassment over handling this contract extension, others greeted it with optimism and thought if Mourinho wanted him so badly to extend, there must be a reason for that.

And that reason has been shown in the opening handful of games into the new season. Mourinho, quite clearly, sees Fellaini as his enforcer. As the player who is going to do his dirty work on the pitch, break the opposition’s play up and distribute the ball in order for the team to move forward and attack the space. At too many times in Fellaini’s United career has he been used as a number 10, trying to dictate play, when that is not where his strengths lie.

While United have not had the easiest starts possible in terms of their results and performances on the pitch, Fellaini has been a key cog at times when Mourinho has called on him. The Belgian, especially in the remaining 30 minutes of matches, acts as a player who offers protection and security in front of his defence – a defence that has been under fire and on shaky legs so far.

Fellaini is not the most eye-pleasing player in a United jersey, but it’s not his job to be that. You simply cannot – or expect – a team to be filled with flair players that take your breath away at every moment. In most elite clubs, they have players who carry out instructions diligently and can be trusted to sacrifice themselves for the team’s cause. Mourinho has said on countless ocassions that Fellaini is one of his most trusted players and can rely on him.

While United’s overall performance against Wolves at the weekend was dire, Fellaini’s performance stood out. For the first 50 minutes, the Belgian was organised in carrying out his role in front of United’s back four, mopping up any danger that would come his way from Wolves’ sharp break aways. Acting in a more defensive role, Fellaini looked comfortable when tasked with thwarting any danger.

When Wolves eventually did find a breakthrough in Joao Moutinho’s wonderful strike, Fellaini’s role changed somewhat. Instead of occupying the space just in front of his two central defenders, he was given the freedom to move forward and cause chaos in an attacking sense. Having a focal point, in addition to Romelu Lukaku, who was incredibly poor, helped United move up the pitch efficiently. The transition in United’s play from defence into attack was eased and the Red Devils found themselves dominating more of possession in the final 30 minutes.

As soon as Andreas Pereira came onto the field with 15 minutes to play, Fellaini made the permanent move up front, where United’s creators had an easier job in finding possession in the final third. While, in the end, their hard labour failed to bring home the three points, it did highlight the many uses of Fellaini under Mourinho and why the Portuguese manager is so keen on having him on the pitch.

He quite possibly might never be truly accepted by fans inside Old Trafford, but Fellaini has been one of United’s better players so far this season and looks to be more comfortable at the start of this campaign than in previous years. His position, at the base of midfield, is one where he excels in and has seen the most praise in. With such a long and tiring season ahead, there will always be a time for Fellaini’s presence.

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Martinez deserves credit for brave decisions


Roberto Martinez is a manager who has certainly faced his critics in English football, especially following a tenure as Everton boss that saw his sides often blow hot and cold.

However, with his side 2-0 down against minnows Japan and in the face of a shock exit from the World Cup, the former Wigan manager showed his nous to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Many were quick to malign the Spaniard’s tactical decisions when he opted to bring on Maroune Fellaini and Nacer Chadli in a bit to turn the game around.

Those people were soon left with egg on their face as the introductions quickly turned Continue reading

Japan eliminated but entertain the World in the process


Japan felt confident walking into the stadium, the pressure all on their opponents Belgium. The European outfit brought back in superstars Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku whilst Vincent Kompany came into the back three sandwiched between Tottenham defenders Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld. Japan unsurprisingly moved back to the same lineup that got four points from their first two games and looked to cause a big shock in a World Cup full of upsets.

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Has Marouane Fellaini won over the doubters?

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When all’s said and done, a 2nd place finish in the 2017/18 Premier League season was the best Manchester United were going to get.

That may disappoint some, but for a team that are still trying to find their identity under Jose Mourinho, it’s progress.

Something Marouane Fellaini has shown year after year at the Red Devils.

Many decry the Belgian as one dimensional, but Mourinho has always backed Fellaini to the hilt. Indeed, the Portuguese has even gone as far as saying on more than one occasion that the team is much weaker without the midfielder in it.

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Fellaini flourishing under Louis Van Gaal

Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini recently got on the scoresheet to help seal a 2-1 win against Stoke City at Old Trafford on Tuesday night, and his goal has capped what a fantastic two months it has been for the former Red Devils flop.

Signed from Everton by ex-manager David Moyes for an eye watering £28M in 2013, big things were expected of the Belgian. He failed to deliver in his debut campaign, overwhelmed by the pressure to perform on such a large scale, and many thought he would be sold for a cut price as a result.

But new manager Louis Van Gaal surprisingly kept faith in the 27-year-old the following campaign, and he’s now been vindicated in his decision to stick with Fellaini, who has featured more than the likes of Darren Fletcher, Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick in the midfield to highlight his importance while the aforementioned were out of action.

Against Stoke City, he enjoyed another standout performance in the middle of the park, commanding in stature and very industrious. No United player made more tackles than the Belgian (5), who also made the second-most passes in the midfield. But it wasn’t just defensively where he shone. Fellaini also had three shots, two on target, one goal.

His confidence is sky high after being afforded a run of games in a style that allows him to play to his strengths for the entire 90 minutes. Only Chris Smalling made more touches (102) against the Potters than Fellaini (96), which is a stark contrast to how he performed in his debut campaign.

The 27-year-old was reticent receiving the ball in dangerous areas, but now he’s believing in his own ability and is starting to show why Moyes was so keen to pay nearly £30M for his services.

This season for United, Fellaini has made a total of nine Premier League appearances, scoring two goals, making 25 tackles, winning 36 aerial duels, while boasting an 88.1% pass completion. He’s realising his potential which is coinciding with an upturn in form for the Lancashire clubs too.

David Moyes didn’t appear to know where best to play Fellaini in his debut season, despite him coming off the back of an incredible scoring campaign as an attacking-midfielder who netted 11 goals, made 5 assists, and created 40 chances in 2012/13. Manchester United are now finally seeing his true quality, and against all odds, Fellaini is fast becoming a key component to the midfield.