Comparing Bruno Fernandes’ Man Utd stats in 2021-22 to last season
Manchester United playmaker Bruno Fernandes is reportedly close to agreeing a new five-year contract extension – despite criticisms over his form in 2021-22.
Fernandes made a huge impact on his arrival from Sporting Lisbon in January 2020, and he went on to enjoy a stellar first full season for the Red Devils.
However, many have argued that he hasn’t been quite as effective amid United’s struggles during the 2021-22 campaign – is that true in terms of the stats?
“Of course, that was never in doubt,” Fernandes said in September, after a victory over Newcastle in Cristiano Ronaldo’s first game back, as a response to those that doubted his compatibility with his Portuguese compatriot.
“Good players can be put together and always play well. Some days you can play well, some other days no. But it is not because one is closing the space of another. It’s because football is like that sometimes.”
But as the season has gone on, there have been suggestions that Ronaldo’s place in the team has hampered Fernandes’ individual form and impact on the team.
Interim United boss Ralf Rangnick has consistently picked both players and doesn’t appear to believe there’s any issue.
“I think for him, it’s better than being pinned to a no.10 position because he can then make himself available in different areas of the pitch, not only in the centre,” Rangnick told United’s official website in January.
“For me, he’s not a wing player, but I think in this position, he can find the spaces himself, he can sniff the moments in which areas we have to play the ball for him, and this position as an 8 is almost perfect for him.”
One issue is that the return of Ronaldo means that Fernandes is no longer on penalty-taking duties – he hasn’t taken a spot-kick in the Premier League since missing against Aston Villa in September.
That’s inevitably affected his goal return – half of his total tally of league goals last season were from the penalty spot, and he’s actually already scored as many non-penalty Premier League goals in 2021-22 as he did in the entirety of last season.
But what about the other statistics? Is Fernandes still proving as dangerous and creative all-round? For the most part, his numbers are down on the 2020-21 campaign all-round, but rarely by as much as you might expect.
Here’s how his Premier League output in 2021-22 compares to the season before – the data comes courtesy of StatsBomb, via FBref.com.
Goals (Per 90)
2020-21: 18 (0.52)
2021-22: 9 (0.35)
Non-penalty goals (Per 90)
2020-21: 9 (0.35)
2021-22: 9 (0.26)
— Premier League (@premierleague) October 26, 2021
Assists (Per 90)
2020-21: 12 (0.52)
2021-22: 6 (0.35)
Goals & Assists per 90 (excluding pens)
2020-21: 0.87 (0.61)
2021-22: 0.58 (0.58)
Expected Goals per 90 (non-penalty xG per 90)
2020-21: 0.45 (0.23)
2021-22: 0.28 (0.25)
Expected Assists (Per 90)
Shots per 90 (Shots on target per 90) [Percentage on target]
2020-21: 2.50 (0.82) [36.4%]
2021-22: 3.19 (1.16) [32.8%]
Goals per shot (per shot on target)
2020-21: 0.14 (0.43)
2021-22: 0.08 (0.23)
Passes completed per 90 (passing accuracy)
2020-21: 49.5 (72.7%)
2021-22: 41.2 (74.6%)
Passes into the final third per 90
Passes into the 18-yard box per 90
Crosses into the final third per 90
Key passes per 90