Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has been named as Europe’s best central midfielder of the past week by Spanish newspaper Sport thanks to his impressive performances against West Brom and Chelsea.
The much-maligned Belgium international scored his first goal for the Red Devils after coming on as a substitute against the Baggies last week - a thunderous strike after a typically neat piece of chest control - and followed that performance up with an impressive showing against Premier League leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Fellaini subsequently fended off huge competition to land the central midfield spot in Sport’s Team of the Week, which also includes the Belgian’s Manchester United teammate, David de Gea.
Fellaini and De Gea are joined in the Team of the Week by Swansea City striker, Wilfried Bony, who scored a brace against Leicester City on Saturday.
Other big-name players to make the list include Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain and Lyon midfielder Maxime Gonalons.
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Fellaini endured a difficult debut season at Old Trafford after being purchased by his former Everton boss David Moyes for £27.5 million last summer.
Fellaini silencing his critics
A succession of injuries combined with below-par performances turned Fellaini into something of a scapegoat at times, but he is now in the process of silencing his critics and winning over the Manchester United supporters.
United boss Louis van Gaal clearly believes that Fellaini, the 6ft 4in midfielder, has his uses. And against both West Brom and Chelsea, his height and physicality was essential at times.
Indeed, it was Fellaini’s header which led to Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois’ parry and Robin van Persie’s subsequent equaliser in the dying moments of the match.
Fellaini to start v Man City?
Van Gaal is expected to stick with Fellaini for Sunday’s crunch Premier League fixture against local rivals Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. The 26-year-old endured a particularly poor afternoon in last season’s corresponding fixture, and will be keen to make amends - and continue his rich vein of form - against Manuel Pellegrini’s league champions this weekend.
A similarly commanding performance against the likes of Yaya Toure, Fernandinho and Fernando could see Fellaini named in Sport’s Team of the Week for a second successive week.
Now wouldn’t that be something?