5 players who have made the difference for Manchester United
- Despite a poor start to the season, United are now in pole position for a top four finish. Here are 5 players who have made the difference.
Manchester United had a terrible start to the season. The team struggled to find consistency and rhythm with fixture congestion and injuries stretching the shallow squad they had beyond its limits. A Champions League spot looked out of sight, with a mid-table finish as the probable outcome. Now, months later, having produced some scintillating performances since the winter break, United have turned it around. Confident and dominant, the team is now a far cry from the one at the start, better in every aspect. After their emphatic 2-0 win over City in the derby, a top-four finish looks increasingly likely. Here are five players who have stepped up and made the difference.
Bruno Fernandes has hit the ground running since his January transfer from Sporting Lisbon. Before his arrival, United lacked creativity and flair in the midfield, with players often choosing the easy pass. This led to them having a lot of trouble breaking down defensive teams, dropping valuable points in the process. He has injected the much-needed directness and urgency in their attack. He is a player who can envision a pass to a teammate before making it and is not afraid to take risks. Within such a short period, he has become the heart and soul of United's midfield. His attitude and creative extravagance have elevated the players around him as well. He has been a monumental signing and a step in the right direction for them.
Fred has been one of United's most consistent players so far. He has improved drastically throughout the season, working hard to link the attack and defense. His vision and passing aren't quite up to the mark, but his spirit and commitment make up for it. Things weren't that rosy for him upon his arrival from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2018, with Jose Mourinho at one point telling him he had no future at the club. He couldn't adapt quickly enough to the league and failed to make an impact. Despite all this, he kept his head down and worked hard to reinvent himself as a player, and this season he has. Kudos to him.
3. Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire had a pretty lackluster start to the season, with many questioning his worth after United paid a hefty fee to bring him to the club. All the doubts and criticisms have long gone, with Maguire producing stellar performances consistently since then. He is calm and collected on the ball, projecting an aura of tranquility and confidence. He has also grown into his role as captain, keeping the shape of the backline and commandeering the ship that United are. Has he justified his price tag? A resounding YES!
4. Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Wan-Bissaka has been brilliant so far this season. His most impressive attributes have been his valiance and willingness to go in for the tackle, with no second thoughts. He is confident, on the ball, rarely makes defensive mistakes and has been a player United can rely on. He is also great at going forward, often making intelligent runs down the right side. However, his final deliveries into the box have left something to be desired. There's no doubt, if he works on it, he could go on to become one of the best right-backs in the world. Go get 'em, tiger!
5. Anthony Martial
You could argue that Marcus Rashford or even Luke Shaw deserves this spot, but Martial for me nicks it. Struggling with injuries, he had a slow start to the season. Fortunately, Rashford was there to bail him out and produce the goods. But with him suffering a potentially season-ending back injury, Martial had to step up and get the goals which he has done so - with panache. Although initially, he had some trouble playing through the middle, with 16 goals to his name, he seems to have got the gist. He also has developed a telepathic understanding with Bruno Fernandes over recent weeks, forging a dynamic partnership wreaking havoc on the opposition. Primed to produce his best season yet, in front of goal, Martial has elevated his game to a whole new level. Keep on grinding!Published 10 Mar 2020, 20:57 IST