Still a key figure in the heart of the action for Manchester United, the drop off in Premier League goals for Bruno Fernandes has been noticeable in recent years.
The Portugal star managed to bag himself 18 league goals in the 2020/21 campaign and the Red Devils could do with the playmaker getting back to those types of numbers in the near future.
A Season To Remember
The 2020/21 campaign was strong for Manchester United and Fernandes certainly played a major role in their success. Fernandes, who is currently priced at 200/1 in the Premier League top goalscorer odds this term, finished that campaign with an impressive 18 league goals.
Granted, nine of those goals did come from the penalty stop, but the former Sporting Lisbon star was also a real threat in and around the penalty spot in open play. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the manager in charge at Old Trafford at the time and the Norwegian seemed to get the most out of Fernandes that season.
That 2020/21 campaign ended with United coming in second place in the Premier League standings under Solskjaer – Fernandes finished as the club’s top goalscorer. Only two players scored more Premier League goals that season than Fernandes, with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane finishing with 22 and 23 goals, respectively. United played a fast, counter-attacking brand of football under Solskjaer and it was a system that Fernandes thrived in.
Rediscovering That Form
It’s easier said than done but current boss Erik ten Hag will be seeking ways to try and increase Fernandes’ goal numbers this season. Scoring just three goals in his first 22 league appearances this term, the Portuguese star hasn’t been having the same impact in the final third he once had. In fairness to Ten Hag, this is nothing new, as Fernandes’ goalscoring numbers have dwindled since that superb 2020/21 campaign. The 29-year-old scored eight league goals in the 2022/23 season and nine the season before.
Chipping in around the 10-goal mark is certainly no shame for a midfielder in the Premier League but the 2020/21 season just showed what Fernandes is capable of. It does help to be in a side challenging in the top two in the Premier League. Plus, Ten Hag is working hard to get the Red Devils back to being title challengers. Goals in general were somewhat of an issue for United throughout the first half of this campaign, with Liverpool having scored 52 goals in their first 23 games, compared to United’s 31 in the same time.
A free-scoring Fernandes would certainly add another string to United’s bow and would go a long way in trying to secure a return to the Champions League next season. The creative midfielder has shown in the past what he’s capable of in the final third. Should a couple of efforts find the back of the net, a run of goals could follow in the business end of the season.