Man Utd penalties: The verdict on Bruno Fernandes' penalties since Premier League move


Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes hasn't taken long to wind up rival supporters in England.

By way of playing for the Red Devils, you're guaranteed to get stick from the Liverpool and Manchester City faithful regardless, but Fernandes has been set aside for special criticism.

That's because the Portuguese midfielder has been at the forefront of United winning so many penalties recently, even breaking the Premier League record with 14 spot kicks in 2019/20.

Brighton 2-3 Man Utd

So, it should come as no surprise that the penalty debate came to the fore once again when United dodged what looked to be an unavoidable draw with Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday.

The visitors' hearts had been broken by a Solly March equaliser, only for United to become the first team in Premier League history to be awarded a penalty after the full-time whistle.

Who stepped up to take it? You guessed it. Fernandes grabbed the ball and secured three points for the Red Devils by sending Matthew Ryan the wrong way with a superb strike.


Long list of Fernandes penalties

Remarkably, it was the ninth penalty that Fernandes has taken since his move from Sporting Lisbon - scoring all nine, by the way - despite only playing 25 times in the famous red jersey.

It's no wonder that, rightly or wrongly, Fernandes has become an internet meme for scoring so many penalties with certain fans believing that United are getting the rub of the green with VAR.

A pretty controversial claim, we know, but the sheer volume of United penalties makes it one that isn't completely unfounded on the surface, so we decided to dig a little deeper in the archives.

In fact, we've given the verdict on all nine penalty incidents that Fernandes has benefitted from in 2020, deciding once and for all whether the United midfielder has been fortunate or not.


The verdict on all nine penalties

Reminisce on the penalty-provoking moments and our thoughts on whether they were correctly awarded or not down below:

1. Vs Watford

Verdict: Correct decision

Just days before Fernandes arrived at Old Trafford, United were incredibly fortunate to earn a penalty against Norwich City for a goalkeeper, Tim Krul, rushing out from goal to make a tackle.

But although that incident wasn't a penalty in my eyes, this one certainly was. Ben Foster took more than enough of a chunk out of Fernandes' right leg in this tackle to warrant a spot kick.


2. Vs Club Brugge

Verdict: Correct decision

Like, duh. Simon Deli literally blocked a shot from Daniel James with his left arm as though he was leaping through the air like a prime Gianluigi Buffon. My nan would have awarded a penalty.


3. Vs Tottenham Hotspur

Verdict: Correct decision

Speaking of absolute no-brainers... I don't think anybody contests for one second that Eric Dier blatantly pushing Paul Pogba to the ground deserved anything less than a penalty.


4. Vs Aston Villa

Verdict: Incorrect decision

From arguably the most clearcut decision of all to the most outrageous of the bunch and we can still remember the controversy when Fernandes won himself a penalty for this at Villa Park.

The 26-year-old essentially performs a skill move on top of the helpless Ezri Konsa and goes down as though he's been wiped out by a slide tackle from behind. A blunder of the highest order.


5. Vs Chelsea

Verdict: Correct decision

Sure, this might not have been given in Roy Keane's time, but I'd be a footballing dinosaur to say that Callum Hudson-Odoi did nothing wrong by essentially jabbing his toe into Anthony Martial's right foot.


6. Vs Leicester City

Verdict: Correct decision

Another cut and dry penalty. One player hacking down Anthony Martial when he's clean through on goal would be bad enough, never mind both Wes Morgan and Jonny Evans wiping him out with a pincer movement.


7. Vs FC Copenhagen

Verdict: Correct decision (just)

Ooooo ahhhhh. I have very mixed feelings about this decision and in an ideal world, I wouldn't like to see this being given because the contact on Martial is hardly enough to bring him down.

However, you're always asking for trouble literally putting your hands on the shoulders of a forward who's about to break through on goal, so Andreas Bjelland dug his own grave really.


8. Vs Sevilla

Verdict: Correct decision

Marcus Rashford might have gone flying towards the byline like he was fired out of a cannon, but planting your boot into the shins of an attacker with a slide tackle makes for a stonewall penalty.


9. Vs Brighton & Hove Albion

Verdict: Correct decision

I'll be the first person to say that the handball law implemented last summer has been nothing but a detriment to the Premier League and you've got to feel for Tottenham after Sunday's events.

That being said, this decision was absolutely spot on with Neal Maupay's arm clearly being in an unnatural position and overruling after the final whistle is well within the current VAR regulations.


At least 7 correct decisions

By my estimations, only one of the nine penalties that Fernandes has taken for United has been an outright incorrect decision and seven of the calls are near enough incontestable.

Besides, the list of penalties awarded literally includes two players simultaneously slide-tackling a player one-on-one with the goalkeeper and a defender diving to his side for a deliberate handball.

So, sure, it does seem strange that United are awarded so many penalties and it won't save Fernandes from the banter online, but it really does seem as though fortune favours the brave.

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