There’s no denying that Bruno Fernandes has been a sensational signing for Manchester United.
Since joining the Red Devils from Sporting Lisbon in January 2020, the Portuguese midfielder has been directly involved in 54 goals (34 goals and 20 assists) in 61 appearances for the club.
Fernandes, who is only behind Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in the Premier League’s top scorer charts this season, is also among the favourites to win the PFA Player of the Year award.
However, the 26-year-old has been less effective for the Red Devils in matches against the so-called ‘Big Six’ this season.
And he flattered to deceive once again against top opposition in the shape of Chelsea on Sunday afternoon.
Some of his stats from the match make for concerning reading for United fans.
Per Squawka, Fernandes lost possession more times than any other player (20), was dribbled past the most times (four), only created one chance, had zero shots on target and failed to complete a single take-on.
According to ESPN, Fernandes now has just one goal and zero assists in seven games against the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ this term.
He’s had a further 70 shots against the ‘Big Six’ since scoring from the penalty spot after 98 seconds against Tottenham back in October, but has failed to convert any of them.
But are Fernandes’ underwhelming stats against top Premier League sides a result of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tactics in these games?
United’s record against the ‘Big Six’ this season is disappointing to say the least.
After losing 6-1 to Tottenham, United drew 0-0 at home to Chelsea, then lost 1-0 away at Arsenal and have since played out four goalless draws against Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea.
"I think Man Utd are looking at the teams more behind them and trying to keep the distance, instead of saying 'let's go and win football matches’,” former United captain Roy Keane said on Sky Sports.
"I think that's why you're at Man Utd - to win matches and try and chase Man City down.
"From that second half performance, yes [they have given up the fight]. I think they're concentrating on cementing second place and winning a cup.”
He added: "A real lack of quality from United. When you look back at the big games where they've not produced, that must be a concern.
"They have scored the most goals in the league, so they do try to win, but in these games I think their mindset is 'let's not be beaten'.
"Maybe they are scarred from the Spurs game. Some of these games have been really boring, considering there are some really good attacking players on the team.
"The lack of goals from United players might be something to do with their mindset, or just settling for the draw.
"Their mindset is just not to be beaten in these big games, rather than going for it."News Now - Sport News