Bruno Fernandes will be playing in his first Manchester Derby today, as the new Manchester United playmaker squares off against Manchester City at Old Trafford. The Portuguese ace will be going toe-to-toe with City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne, and will have the chance to show he is United’s answer to the Belgian star.
Fernandes will be the centre of attention today at Old Trafford, as the midfielder faces his toughest challenge since moving to United.
Since making the £46.6million switch from Sporting Lisbon, Fernandes has made an immediate impact, emerging as United’s key man instantaneously.
In his four Premier League games since joining, he has scored twice and provided two assists, providing an immediate return on the transfer fee United forked out.
The 25-year-old has been credited with United’s recent surge in from, as United have failed to lose since Fernandes joined the team.
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His nomination for the Premier League’s Player of the Month award came as no surprise after his brilliant form, and he will be looking to continue his impressive start to life in Manchester today.
United are desperate for a win today, as they look to keep up the pace in the battle for the Champions League places.
A win today will see them jump back into fourth spot ahead of Sheffield United, Wolves and Chelsea, but the Blues face Everton earlier today.
City also need a win today, as a defeat will all-but signify the end of their title defence – such a feat coming at the hands of their biggest rivals will be inconceivable to Pep Guardiola’s men.
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Therefore, today’s game will likely come down to a battle of the midfielders, with De Bruyne and Fernandes trading blows in the middle of the park.
Both men will be trying to prove themselves as the best central playmaker in the table.
That may seem like a stretch given Fernandes’ newcomer status, but if he can one-up De Bruyne today he will certainly put himself in contention.
United’s attack today will likely run through Fernandes, giving him the perfect opportunity to stamp his authority on the game.
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Orion Ighalo and Anthony Martial are expected to start as two central strikers ahead of Fernandes, who will play in the attacking midfield role.
The nature of the line-up will give Fernandes the chance to be creative and have a free roam of the City half, and he can take advantage of City’s poor defence.
The back-to-back champions have been disappointing at the back this season, and the Portuguese ace can take advantage of that today.
Having Fred and Scott McTominay behind him will allow him to neglect some of his defensive duties, and therefore he can move forward with ease and create chances for the pair of strikers.
De Bruyne has had a brilliant season, despite City’s struggles.
The Belgian put in a career-defining performance against Real Madrid in the Champions League, but speculation over his future could potentially be playing on his mind.
For that reason, the timing couldn’t be better for Fernandes to truly make a name for himself and one-up the Belgian superstar.
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