Fernandes, Pogba, Rashford: Man Utd players ranked from worst to best after Istanbul defeat

  • Kobe Tong

Manchester United have made a dire start to their 2020/21 campaign.

Defeat against Everton at the weekend could see them slump as low as 17th place in the Premier League standings, while even their Champions League form started to unravel on Wednesday.

The impressive wins over Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig that had started to paper over the cracks at Old Trafford were massively undermined by a shock 2-1 defeat to İstanbul Başakşehir.

Tough times at Man Utd

As a result, the negative atmosphere at the club is such that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems to be living a charmed life and reports are touting Mauricio Pochettino as his possible successor.

However, whenever there is a situation at a club where the manager is under threat, you can almost be certain that the players have contributed to the downfall in one way for another.

In the case of the Red Devils, there is no shortage of world-class players in the squad, but so few of them have been able to rediscover the form that had seen them start 2020 so strongly.


Man Utd players ranked

Now, we could let the pessimistic outlook completely wash over us but instead, we've decided to take a more objective look at how the United squad is shaping up amidst all the drama.

Consequently, we've turned to WhoScored.com to assess the average match ratings amassed by the United first-team this season aggregated across the Premier League and Champions League.

It's near enough the closest you can come to possibly ordering football players - something inherently subjective - by way of statistics and you can check out the full results down below: 

23. Eric Bailly - 5.52

The fact Bailly's only start in the Premier League this season came in the 6-1 annihilation against Tottenham Hotspur should go a long way towards telling you why he finishes rock bottom.


22. Dean Henderson - 5.64

Don't read too much into Henderson's position here because it's only comprised of the Istanbul result and there wasn't anything he could have done to stop either goal.

21. Odion Ighalo - 5.74

Despite a flurry of goals in cup competitions last season that earned him the nickname 'The Nigerian R9', I think we can all agree that Ighalo falls comfortably short of the expected standard at United.


20. Juan Mata - 6.01

As much as Mata continues to show flashes of technical wizardry when playing against weaker opponents, his days at the highest level seem to be over and that showed against Istanbul.

19. Daniel James - 6.13

It pains me to say that United should probably wave goodbye to James because he comes across like a cracking professional, but his performances have been pretty poor so far this season.


18. Edinson Cavani - 6.17

There's not too much to say here because Cavani is still waiting for his first start in a United jersey and has largely been limited to cameos off the bench when the Red Devils have been struggling.

17. Alex Tuanzebe - 6.18

To tell you the truth, we're pretty bewildered that Tuanzebe ranks so lowly when you consider his masterclass at the Parc des Princes and frankly, he should be starting every week.


16. Mason Greenwood - 6.40

For whatever reason, Greenwood hasn't looked like himself this season, but it says everything about the 19-year-old's talent that he's still managed to score two goals in eight games regardless.

15. Donny van de Beek -. 6.42

This seems pretty harsh on Van de Beek when you consider how strong he's looked when Solskjaer has actually started him, but perhaps it's the lack of minutes that have stunted his data sets.


14. Alex Telles - 6.47

Telles can count himself lucky here because his rating of 6.47 is completely made up of the PSG performance and the Brazilian is yet to appear since after a positive COVID-19 test. 

13. Nemanja Matic - 6.50

United can't lean on Matic for too much longer as father time slowly creeps up on him, but there's no denying that - Istanbul lunacy aside - he's one of the club's sturdier midfield options.


12. Timothy Fosu-Mensah - 6.57

The Dutchman's lofty position is down to the fact his rating of 6.57 is only comprised of 95 minutes of football and it remains doubtful that he will play a major role for United as the season progresses.

11. Paul Pogba - 6.61

For a player who has conceded two Premier League penalties already this season and continues to look short of match fitness, you have to think that Pogba will take 11th place and run with it.


10. Victor Lindelof - 6.72

Mid-table seems about right for Lindelof after starting the season with a disasterclass against Crystal Palace, only to somewhat sturdy the ship and his reputation in the weeks since.

9. David de Gea - 6.78

We'll apply the caveat that goalkeepers' statistics tend to be slightly lower on WhoScored.com and there's good reason to think De Gea has been back to his very best this season.


8. Anthony Martial - 6.78

Martial's statistics are without a doubt the most bizarre on the list because his Champions League data is fantastic (7.60), but his Premier League output is probably best ignored (5.96).

7. Aaron Wan-Bissaka - 6.80

Despite starting the season with a slew of shaky moments in the back-line, Wan-Bissaka has slowly started to rediscover his best United form and certainly one of the club's most reliable players.


6. Harry Maguire - 6.84

Yup, I bet you weren't expecting to see Maguire finish this highly. While reactions to the club captain have bordered on hyperbolic at times, sixth place seems pretty lofty after so many individual errors.

5. Scott McTominay - 6.87

Hmmm. Again, the statistics seem to have been a little generous here because McTominay has looked like the weakest link in the United midfield during key games against Chelsea and Arsenal.


4. Fred - 6.88

No arguments here. You've got to commend Fred for bouncing back from a terrible first season to become one of United's best players and his Champions League performances have been superb.

3. Luke Shaw - 7.06

It's about time that people started putting respect on Shaw's name because he continues to be one of United's most consistent performers less than two years after bagging the club's POTY award.


2. Bruno Fernandes - 7.29

Despite the fact he gave away the ball a mind-blowing 34 times against Istanbul, Fernandes has continued to prove this season that, on his day, there's not a better player in the United squad.

1. Marcus Rashford - 7.36

Yup, no doubt about this one. Rashford has looked like a class above in 2020/21, constantly giving his all for the shirt, scoring a stunner against Brighton and bagging three versus RB Leipzig.


GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says

I don't think there's any denying that Rashford has been United's star player so far this season.

What the Englishman has achieved on and off the pitch has been inspiring to watch, helping to fight child hunger in his spare time and thrashing home seven goals already during his day job.

It's good to see Fernandes placing highly, too, with his disasterclass in Turkey proving something of an anomaly, while Shaw deserves to be getting far more credit than he ever seems to receive.


Further down the table and to be honest, you have to wonder whether the time is nigh to cut ties with players like Mata and Ighalo, while James has seemed a little out of his depth this season.

However, specific rankings aside, I think near enough every player in the United squad can raise their game, it's just a question of whether they do it soon enough to keep Solskjaer employed.

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