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February Review: Fernandes, Fred and Martial the players to talk about with De Gea, Shaw, McTominay and Ighalo honourably mentioned

Manchester United played five times in February because of the winter break which has been implemented into the fixture schedule. United started the month at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers, a match which saw Bruno Fernandes make his first appearance for the club. It was a 0-0 draw, a match that should have been much better. It would be two weeks before United played again because of the winter break.

On the 17th February, United beat Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge – a match which saw Fernandes do what he was doing in Portugal – getting his first assist with Anthony Martial and Harry Maguire scoring the goals in the game. Chelsea did score twice – both ruled out by VAR. United then faced Club Brugge on the 20 February in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 first leg, a 1-1 draw with Martial scoring United’s goal.

Next up for United was Watford in the Premier League on the 23 February, a 3-0 victory for United with Fernandes scoring his first goal for the club with Martial and Mason Greenwood scoring the other goals. It was a much-needed win in the league with United keeping the chase on Chelsea in the race for a top four finish – sitting just three points adrift of the London club in fifth place in the league.

The final match of February came against Club Brugge in the Europa League round of 32 second leg, a 5-0 victory for United. Fernandes scored his second goal for the club with Scott McTominay, Odion Ighalo – scoring his first goal and a brace for Fred. It ended a good month for United, which could have started better. However, United are now on a seven-match unbeaten run and seeking to continue that in March.

Bruno Fernandes – five appearances, 344 minutes, two goals, two assists and three Man of the Match awards.

The Portuguese midfielder has been a breath of fresh air after arriving at the club during the January transfer window. In five appearances for his new club, he has scored two goals, two assists and been named the club’s MOTM three times. Fernandes has shown United what they had ben missing for the first part of the season and seemingly solved their creativity crisis almost immediately – performing well against Wolves, despite playing a central midfield role because of injury and suspension. Fernandes will be seeking to continue his form into March, helping United achieve this season with a place in the Champions League next season the main prize although two trophies are still effectively on the table.

Anthony Martial – four appearances, 327 minutes, three goals and one Man of the Match award.

The Frenchman has improved recently, which could well be done to the fact Fernandes arrived at the club. Martial has now scored 15 goals this season and despite missing the Club Brugge second leg match at Old Trafford due to injury, he could still have a big part to play this season. Martial has played 2,344 minutes of football this season, playing in 11 of the last 12 matches. Martial is a talented player but looking at the way Odion Ighalo played against Brugge on Thursday, Martial may need to do more leading the line.

Fred – five appearances, 368 minutes, two goals, one assist and one Man of the Match awards.

The Brazilian midfielder has played a lot of football this season, playing a total of 2,714 minutes of football in all competitions up to and including the victory over Club Brugge. Fred has showed a lot of improvement this season and giving him the playing time seems to have done that. On Thursday at Old Trafford he scored a brace and was involved heavily in the result that saw United reach the last 16 in the Europa League. Fred may cause problems in midfield when Paul Pogba is back as I do not believe the Brazilian should just be dropped to the bench.

Notable Mentions: David De Gea, Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay, and Odion Ighalo

David De Gea may not be one of the star players for February but he has showed signs of returning to form. In three appearances – 270 minutes, the Spanish goalkeeper has kept two clean sheets in a month where United have kept four clean sheets in five matches. Luke Shaw is one of only two players to play 90 minutes in each of the five matches played in February playing 450 minutes of football. He has adapted to a new position in defence some of the time rising his form and giving his all for United.

Scott McTominay has only just returned to action following a lengthy spell on the sidelines through injury, playing 83 minutes of football over two matches, scoring one goal, which was great to see. It is important to see him back in the team strengthening the midfield in a way only he can do. Lastly, Odion Ighalo will have dreamed about the last month many times during his life. He’s played 128 minutes of football and during each appearance he has been close to scoring, finally doing that on Thursday at Old Trafford on his first start.

Who is your Player of the Month for February 2020?

A look at what lies ahead in March…

United could play seven matches in March where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking to keep chase on a top four finish in the Premier League, reach the quarter-finals of the Emirates FA Cup and reach the quarter final stage of the UEFA Europa League. United matches for March 2020 are as follows;

1 March – Everton, Goodison Park – Premier League

5 March – Derby County, Pride Park – Emirates FA Cup

8 March – Manchester City, Old Trafford – Premier League

12 March – LASK, Linzer Stadion – UEFA Europa League

15 March – Tottenham Hotspur, THFC Stadium – Premier League

18 March – LASK, Old Trafford – UEFA Europa League

21 March – Sheffield United, Old Trafford – Premier League

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