Bruno Fernandes is celebrating his two-year anniversary at Manchester United.
It’s two years to the day since the Red Devils agreed a deal to sign Fernandes from Sporting CP and tomorrow will mark 24 months having passed since the transfer was officially completed.
Fernandes vs De Bruyne
In fact, Fernandes has been such a success at United that he was the league’s second-highest goalscorer in his first calendar year at the club and earned a Ballon d’Or nomination in his second.
So, sure, while there might have been wobbly form and accusations of petulance in recent weeks, you’d still be hard-pressed to argue that Fernandes’ move has been anything but a success.
As a result, Fernandes has earned himself comparisons with the premier midfielder across the border of the Manchester derby: none other than Kevin De Bruyne.
It’s a fascinating debate that bobs up and down over the months and although many fans would die on the hill that ‘KDB’ is the clear winner, it’s always been a close run thing when it comes to the data.
World-class Premier League midfielders
And even though fatigue with Fernandes has arguably never been higher than it has been recently at United, the 27-year-old still goes toe-to-toe with De Bruyne when you look at their statistics.
We say that because Fernandes’ two-year anniversary felt like the perfect time to assess how his Premier League numbers compare to De Bruyne’s since they’ve been sharing the same division.
In order to achieve that, we turned to the Premier League’s official stats comparison tool to see who came out on top between De Bruyne and Fernandes in everything from goalscoring to defending.
Sadly, we couldn’t align the parameters to the exact date of Fernandes’ arrival in England, but setting the timeframe of the beginning to the 2019/20 season to the present day still works a treat.
Comparing De Bruyne and Fernandes’ stats
Why? Well, because De Bruyne has only played five more league games than Fernandes in that period, so let’s not delay any longer as we take a deep-dive into their statistics down below:
Pretty even, huh? Fernandes unsurprisingly comes out on top when it comes to goalscoring, but De Bruyne is comfortably clear on creativity with 10 more assists even with the slight minutes advantage.
If Fernandes was ever going to win one of these major categories, then it was always going to be the one that centres around goalscoring because it’s definitely an area where he outshines ‘KDB’.
The United star comes out on top for shooting accuracy, shots on target and big chances scored, but De Bruyne isn’t completely overwhelmed as he still boasts more goals from outside the box.
Should we be surprised that De Bruyne tops the charts here? The Belgian maestro is a passing god at the best of times, but he’s on a different plane entirely under Pep Guardiola’s stewardship.
Fernandes might be topping the charts for passes – both forwards and backwards – overall, but he can’t compete with De Bruyne’s numbers for big chances created, crosses and through balls.
A massive tick in the box for Fernandes who amasses more interceptions, tackles, clearances and aerial battles won than his City rival in spite of having played five games less in the timeframe.
Closer than you’d think
Does this settle the De Bruyne vs Fernandes debate? Of course it doesn’t, but let it go to show that it’s not necessarily the whitewash victory for the City wizard that many might image it to be.
Fernandes might throw his toys out of the pram from time to time and he may not be delivering his best form right now, but don’t let that take away from the fact that he’s still a world-class operator.
Rest assured that we’re only a Fernandes masterclass away from the debate with De Bruyne rising to the fore again and make no mistake that they’ll be an intense conversation to have when it does.