What was Fernandes' overall display like?
📷 Match Snapshot
Right from the opening whistle, the Portugal international produced neat touches and a pair of exchanges with Paul Pogba which suggested he was very much up for the contest.
He was regularly trying to make things happen in the final third, playing 19 balls in total into that area, and notably when Anthony Martial dropped deep, Fernandes would go beyond him into the striking position as United's fluid attacking play became apparent.
⚽ ⏱️ 29' Fernandes would claim his first goal of the match just before the half-hour mark, latching on to a square pass from partner-in-crime Paul Pogba to squeeze a deflected strike into the bottom right corner, with a few questions being raised of the keeper Mat Ryan.
⚽ ⏱️ 50' He would claim his second just five minutes after the restart and it was, dare we say, a vintage Manchester United goal.
With Brighton searching for a goal, the visitors pounced with a lightning-quick counter, with Harry Maguire heading clear to Nemanja Matic, who in turn sent Mason Greenwood down the left wing with a quite brilliant half-volleyed pass. Greenwood then picked out Fernandes at the back post, who confidently smashed a bouncing strike home.
Fernandes ability to drift between the lines made him impossible for Brighton to track, and he was always available to turn and drive at goal. His four shots were the most in the contest, with two landing on target. Fernandes also won 3/3 of his tackles, showcasing a side of his game perhaps not as lauded.
〽️ Rating Week-on-Week
The outing against Brighton represents a significant increase in performance for Fernandes, who still enjoyed an excellent 7.1 FC Rating against Norwich in his last match.
His two goals versus Brighton, combined with an overall excellent performance, earned him a jump to a 8.8 FC Rating.
🗝️ Key Stats
Fernandes match stats
|FC Rating||8.8||🏆 Man of the Match|
|Touches In Box||1|
|Final Third Passes||19|
Man Utd are really beginning to find their form and Fernandes' arrival in January has been absolutely integral to that evolution.
Fernandes really has been the catalyst to this form, the missing piece of a puzzle that makes United look so much superior to their incarnation of earlier in the campaign. If they continue on their current form, you would fancy them to make it into the Champions League places.