Fernandes and McTominay: the Key to Manchester United’s Premiership Aspirations
At the time of writing, Manchester United are in the third position in the Premier League, one point behind Leicester in second, and five points adrift of leaders Liverpool. However, they do have one game in hand over both. That means, if they win it, they could go second just one point behind Jurgen Klopp’s men.
But are United serious title contenders long term, and is Ole Gunnar Solskjær the man for the job?
When United were thrashed by Tottenham 6-1 at Old Trafford, it looked like the Red Devils were, at best, in for a mediocre season and that their manager would come under renewed pressure to keep his job. But what a difference a few days can make.
While they were handing out the thumping, Spurs were top of the Premiership table, level on points with Liverpool, but with a superior goal difference. Now, after only having scraped one point out a possible nine in their last three matches, they are languishing in the sixth position. Early talk of them being contenders for finishing the season top of the Premier league now revealed for what they were – idle speculation.
On the other hand, Manchester United are flying high after a 6-2 drubbing of Leeds United in last weekend’s derby match. Solskjær’s men put on a scintillating display of attacking football and could have scored even more, thanks to the inclusion of Scott McTominay, their 24-year-old midfielder.
After scoring two goals in a superb display of midfield-manship, McTominay was hailed by Neville Southgate, who was there looking over his England potentials, as the new Paul Scholes come Roy Keane of United – just the tonic Ole Gunnar Solskjær needs.
For his part, Solskjær was delighted with McTominay’s performance against Leeds, commenting that he is a physical monster. He commented on how the young Scot has improved from a technical standpoint, particularly his want and ability to run forward into space. As a one time striker, he can score goals as he showed against Leeds, and in the future, that will be crucial.
If the 24-year-old Scot can carry on playing at that level, alongside Bruno Fernandes, who has turned out to be the buy of the year in last January’s transfer window, all is possible.
Fernandes is proving to be an excellent find. So far this season, he lies in equal third place in the list of Premier League top goal scorers. If he carries on at this rate, he will have to star in Sportingbet’s 10 winter transfers list whose arrivals most boosted their team’ number of points per game.
Until now, Fernandes has nine goals to his credit alongside Harry Kane, but of course, the 26-year-old Portuguese is a midfielder, not a striker. If he and McTominay can both remain injury-free and maintain their form, they will be the key to United’s Premiership aspirations.