A scandalous yellow card choice within the first leg means Bruno Fernandes will play no half within the return journey to Sevilla in Manchester United’s Europa League quarter-final conflict on Thursday.
Felix Zwayer’s reserving of the playmaker for handball regardless of being solely a yard away along with his again to the shot meant the Portugal star had clocked three cautions and was required to take a seat out a match.
Fernandes’ absence might be felt and his efficiency in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest evidenced how he can dictate a sport from midfield.
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The 28-year-old had 96 touches and made six key passes, seeing him pip goal-and-assist star Antony to the man-of-the-match award.
United are having to take care of the absences of a variety of different gamers too together with Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez. Top scorer Marcus Rashford may additionally nonetheless be unavailable with the health of Marcel Sabitzer is unsure after choosing up an issue within the warm-up on the City Ground.
Two key gamers have not too long ago come again from time on the sidelines, although. The finish of Casemiro’s home suspension noticed him begin in opposition to Forest and he proved to be as astute as ever. Christian Eriksen made his first begin since damage throughout the sport having been introduced in late to switch Sabitzer.
Eriksen performed 79 minutes, finishing 55 of his 62 passes, in what was higher preparation for a begin in opposition to Sevilla. He’ll be wanted amid the absence of Fernandes’ creativity.
The Dane has dropped again right into a deeper midfield function when Fernandes is on the market, offering a formidable trio alongside Casemiro. But 255 of his 538 profession video games have been performed as an attacking midfielder with 139 others coming without any consideration or left winger.
He has performed in central midfield 119 occasions with 24 of his 34 United matches coming within the place. He’s performed the function immensely however his pure instincts are forward-thinking and he should really feel most comfortable within the attacking function.
It’s a credit score to him that he might be as efficient from additional again as additional ahead. He’s solely operated because the attacking midfielder beneath Erik ten Hag 4 occasions, though he may very well be about to get a fifth outing there.
Speaking after the Forest win about his progress at United, Eriksen mentioned with a half-smile: “Yeah in the event you take into consideration how we began, I got here right here and performed as a striker within the first sport.
“It’s a completely different role now and a completely different feeling around the club and also on the pitch. The feeling around the boys are really good.”
He’s not performed the striker function since that 2-1 loss to Brighton however has as an alternative bagged 9 assists from midfield, solely second to Fernandes who has two extra having performed an additional 15 video games.
Sabitzer appeared to function extra freely within the attacking midfield function however he isn’t as inventive as Eriksen and will not be out there anyway. Scott McTominay could have scored 4 in his final two Scotland matches however Ten Hag sees him as a sitting midfielder.
The chances are Fred will are available in so as to add the power alongside Casemiro. The former has solely performed because the entrance midfielder as soon as since Christmas whereas Eriksen has held the place twice in the identical interval, together with in opposition to Sevilla on Thursday.
Kobbie Mainoo is a future star however there may be unlikely to be a Charlton-like shock along with his inclusion within the line-up whereas Zidane Iqbal has not kicked a ball all season. Donny van de Beek can also be out for the marketing campaign.
And so, all issues thought-about, it appears Eriksen is the obvious man to deputise for Fernandes.