Every time Marouane Fellaini saved Manchester United

Marouane Fellaini

The perplexing character of Marouane Fellaini. Where do you even begin? 

On paper, he should go down as one of the most robust footballers we've seen in the modern era.

Possessing a birds nest of a hairstyle and gangly legs to boot, he doesn't look like a professional athlete at all.

Yet, here we are, assessing one of the most unlikely heroes in Manchester United history.

Fellaini was a star at Everton. He often popped up from set-pieces to use his colossal frame to the Toffees' advantage.

He scored 33 times in 177 matches for them before earning a move to Old Trafford. It was one of the first signings following the conclusion of the Sir Alex Ferguson era, and it rather summed up the 'banter' years that were then associated with United.

Fellaini may have become a meme in the north-west, but he was far more valuable to the club than many think.

Fellaini

He became an unlikely hero, saving Man United on no fewer than 12 occasions. In his own right, he has written himself into Old Trafford folklore. Fellaini is not just a meme and someone to laugh at, he was actually a pretty useful footballer in his time. 

The Belgian may be plying his trade in China now, but he's still being talked about in England.

Twitter user @KingNatchoIV put together an interesting thread of each time he's saved the club's bacon. 

So without further ado, here we go...

Derby delight

The first time he saved them was with a header. Of course, it was. Following in at the back post, Fellaini put United in front in a thrilling Manchester derby during the 2014/15 campaign. The score was 1-1 at the time but the midfielder beat Joe Hart just before the half-hour mark and United eventually went onto win 4-2. The Red Devils had initially fallen behind in the game too.

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Fellaini seemed to have a knack of arriving late at the back post and against Preston in the 2014/15 season, he was on hand again. The lower league side had made life difficult for United and were ahead before Ander Herrera equalised, and then Fellaini put them 2-1 in front. Louis van Gaal's team eventually won 3-1. 

Champions League hero 

It didn't matter what competition it was, Fellaini was always on hand. This time it was at the start of the 2015/16 season. United were in action against Club Brugge in the Champions League qualifying stages and the big Belgian popped up once again at the back post to head the ball home with the last action of the game. United qualified after winning 3-1 on the night. 

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Poor Palace

Let's head back to the 2014/15 season again and you'll see yet another back-post header. This really is rinse and repeat. United were drawing against Crystal Palace until Fellaini scored and put them in front. 

Big knee

We're in the 2015/16 campaign now and Fellaini was still coming up clutch. It was more cup delight as he somehow found the back of the net via his knee. It put United 2-0 up against West Ham but they'd later score a consolation goal. His strike, therefore, was vital. 

Wembley joy

Fellaini came back to haunt his former club Everton in the FA Cup semi-finals when he scored the opening goal for United in a 2-1 win. Another important strike and one that was actually with his feet, rather than his head. 

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FA Cup winner

Vintage Wayne Rooney, vintage Fellaini. In the FA Cup final versus Palace, Rooney went on a mazy run before setting up the Belgium international at the back post (again). He chested it down to Juan Mata who volleyed home in a game the Red Devils won after extra time. 

Still going strong 

In the 2016/17 EFL Cup, Fellaini was one of the most important components. Another back-post header against Hull in the first leg of their semi-final clash with Hull proved important as they went through to the final 3-2 on aggregate.

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Cya later Wenger

In the former Arsenal manager's final game at Old Trafford, Fellaini popped up in the last minute of the game to win the match for United. This was yet another header. 

Europa League

Another competition, another header, another late arrival at the back post. You'd think teams would have learnt by 2017? Fellaini was on hand to score against Celta Vigo in the Europa League semi-finals as United went through on aggregate. 

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Saving Mourinho - almost

Fellaini played under multiple head coaches at United and he came up trumps for all of them. This time it was a last-minute equaliser against Derby in the EFL Cup. The Rams eventually went onto win via penalties but without Fellaini, they'd have crashed out in normal time. 

No afro, no problem 

Fellaini binned off his infamous locks in the 2018/19 season but he was still scoring vital goals. This time it was in the Champions League group stages as he took the ball down, used his strength to swivel, and then find the back of the net.

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Cue pandemonium at Old Trafford - in classic Mourinho style, he went mental, throwing the drinks bottles to the floor as United reached the knock-out stages. He really had become a United hero.

So, there we have it. Perhaps we ought to cut Fellaini some slack in future?

He has saved United more times than many would care to imagine.

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