Bruno Fernandes scored a stunning volley to rescue a point for Manchester United against West Brom but that wasn’t enough to stop them from slipping further behind their arch-rivals Manchester City in the Premier League title race.
The Red Devils were held to a 1-1 draw at West Brom on Sunday and despite moving back above Leicester City into second place on goal difference alone, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are now seven points behind the league leaders, who also have a game in-hand.
However, that should take nothing away from the performance of Fernandes, who was Solskjaer’s one shining light against Sam Allardyce’s side.
The Portuguese midfielder came off the bench in the second half to help United to seal a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals in the midweek win at home to West Ham, and he was on top form once again at the Hawthorns.
Not to be outdone by the likes of Connor Gallagher and Mbaye Diagne, it took another moment of magic from Fernandes to level the score after he met Luke Shaw’s cross with his weaker left foot.
As per SofaScore, the 26-year-old earned an impressive 7.9 match rating for his theatrics, that being the best of any midfielder – including his teammate Scott McTominay – and indeed any player on either side on Sunday.
During the full 90′ minutes, Fernandes, who is currently valued at £81m via Transfermarkt, would take 102 touches of the ball, which was significantly more than McTominay, who could only manage 81 despite playing in a deep-lying midfield position.
He always looked to get his foot on the ball and try and make things happen, and towards the end of the game, could be seen picking it up close to the half-way line and trying to spot passes and runners from deep.
It was no surprise then that the Portugal international also successfully completed eight long balls from nine attempts against the Baggies as he tried to exploit gaps in their defence, which was far greater than his season’s average of 3.9 per 90 in the Premier League – it pointed to his desire to try and get the home side moving from side to side and trying to upset their defensive valance.
Therefore, despite the disappointing result, it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying, as Fernandes showed he is a cut above from the rest of the pack. It’s just a shame none of his teammates were able to match his determination and energy.
AND in other Man Utd news, Manchester United suffer fresh Paul Pogba injury setback before trip to West Brom…