Has Bruno Fernandes surpassed Kevin de Bruyne as the Premier League’s best midfielder? Jason Pettigrove delves into the stats to find out once and for all.
If you polled football fans a year ago as to who they thought was the Premier League’s best midfielder, you’d be hard pressed to get anyone to agree that Man City’s Kevin de Bruyne didn’t deserve to sit on top of the pile.
The elegant Belgian has it all. Goals, assists, short or long pass accuracy, pace, power, dead-ball mastery… it makes you wonder why Jose Mourinho ever let him leave Chelsea earlier in his career.
The west Londoner’s loss was definitely City’s gain. Eventually. And Pep Guardiola continues to get the very best out of him.
A PFA Player of the Year award last year was a just reward for his excellence, even though he was up against some able candidates, particularly from an all-conquering Liverpool side.
None of the Reds could’ve laid claim to being as influential and consistent as the attacking midfielder was across last season, however.
To believe that anyone could then usurp de Bruyne in almost every aspect of his play was a little fanciful, but step forward Bruno Fernandes.
— utdreport (@utdreport) January 5, 2021
The impact that the Portuguese midfielder has had at Man United has been nothing short of remarkable.
One player clearly doesn’t make a team, but where would the Red Devils be without his input and output?!
Fernandes is the embodiment of everything a Manchester United player should be, and absolutely cut from the same cloth as the likes of Bryan Robson, Roy Keane or Paul Scholes.
Whilst his natural game may differ from that hat-trick of Old Trafford midfield greats, his influence is beyond question.
And, whisper it quietly, but he is head and shoulders above de Bruyne and clearly a major reason why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side find themselves in a great position at the top of the Premier League table.
Roy Keane on Bruno Fernandes being compared to Eric Cantona 💭 pic.twitter.com/DPLGiUjetf
— Amazon Prime Video Sport (@primevideosport) January 7, 2021
If we look at the stats for the pair this season, there’s truly no comparison, and that may surprise many people.
For example, in just over one game more in minutes played (de Bruyne 1188, Fernandes 1302), Fernandes has had more touches (1212 – 1016), made more ball recoveries (68 – 63), scored more goals (11 – 3) converted much more regularly (32.35% – 9.09%) as well as having more shots at goal (34 – 33).
The balance doesn’t end there either. Bruno’s seven assists are just one behind de Bruyne’s eight, whilst the Portuguese midfielder has created more chances (52 – 45), attempted more passes (884 – 697) and completed more passes (670 – 562).
Did we mention he’s also completed more passes in the opposition half (505 – 457), played more forward passes (299 – 198) and made more tackles (30 – 20), clearances (13 – 5) and interceptions (12 – 4)…
Bruno Fernandes in the Premier League since joining Manchester United. 🎩 [Sky] pic.twitter.com/X9fIvWZyBU
— United Zone (@ManUnitedZone_) January 7, 2021