Bruno Fernandes – Stats, Positioning and Fixtures (8.0m)

Bruno Fernandes arrives at an Old Trafford team desperate for a link between the back and the top of the pitch. He certainly has the pedigree to do this with 29 goal contributions in 28 games this season for Sporting Lisbon, while also taking up Penalty duties as well as a majority of set piece responsibilities.

So faced with a new signing we have several questions to ask and hopefully answer; First off, Where will he play?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems either set on, or locked into due to personnel, a 4-2-3-1. The lack of midfield and striking depth however has seen Manchester United move into a 5-3-2. Depending on when Pogba and McTominay come back though it seems as if a 4-2-3-1 or a straight up 4-3-3 is most likely to take Man Utd forward in the long run.

Bruno can play at most positions across the midfield. With most press attention of course noting his contributions to goals and attacks, fans of Liga NOS or Sporting Fans in general have also noted things like his work rate, running for the team and tracking back to get involved but still having the industry to move forward at pace and keep up with and dictate the tempo of the attack. All of this is probably best represented in his stats from this season in Portugal where per game the Portuguese international has contributed;

2.3 Tackles per game (which is only just second when compared to Man Utd’s current midfield)
3.5 Shots per game
3.7 Chances created per game
0.5 Goals per game
and 0.4 Assists per game

So with this in mind and the injuries and suspensions in Man Utd’s midfield it is perhaps easy to see Bruno starting off in the 2 of midfield with a CAM such as Mata ahead of him, but when Matic and Pogba return we could easily see Bruno shift to CAM or to the right of a midfield 3 with 1 anchor instead of 2. In terms of FPL; positionally he should be good for the long run but short term hold fire so we can see Man United’s midfield return to full strength pushing the Portuguese higher up the pitch.

Man Utds Fixtures?

Man Utd, crucially perhaps, will not blank in gameweek 28. Meaning any signing in your FPL team for the Red Devils will have games up until at least Gameweek 30 (before gameweek 31 brings blanks for FA Cup clashes), giving you 5 games with any signing without too much worry.

However, United’s fixtures aren’t a lock, and also they do have inconsistent form (plagued by injuries and lack of squad depth). Here are the fixtures with their attached expected goals for the specific games.

WOL 1.76
che 1.29
WAT 1.83
eve 1.40
MCI 1.69
tot 1.57

As we can see United aren’t really expected to contribute more than a goal a game in this time. But in real terms, Chelsea, Watford and Man City have all been susceptible to attacking returns however, Aymeric Laporte may help the latter and Kante’s return the former.

Conclusion

If Man Utd had kinder fixtures I would suggest jumping on this right away. The price is a major selling point but also the fact that he will probably take over most set pieces straight away, a good offset is positioning on the field is in flux while squad issues are ironing themselves out.

Medium Risk, Medium Reward.

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