Marouane Fellaini: Why a flop keeps being used as a Plan B?

Despite playing well and creating chances, United is still suffering from the crisis of results, this time against Everton as two points were dropped once again. Some blame the players for not finishing the chances created while others keep blaming the manager for making the wrong substitutions especially playing Fellaini.

It’s understandable that when you’re playing a side like Everton, 1-0 is never a result that can be considered good enough as you may concede at any time but based on how things went, the substitution made would have a simple purpose, to hold on the result. This being said, a player like Fellaini surely made sense as he is a centre defensive midfielder, his height, and his physicality would help United for this purpose.

However, Mourinho completely forgot that it’s Fellaini who we are talking about in here; a player that will never be able to be considered decent to wear a United shirt. Everything started when David Moyes brought him at United, hoping to make the impact he supposedly had at Everton. His terrible statistics continue from the very beginning of his Manchester United career as after two months he got his first red card and during the first season made only 25 appearances in all competitions. We can surely say that he has been effective at times, but his abilities are so often put in question and it’s incredible how often he is part of the team when others deserve it even more.

During Louis van Gaal’s tenure, Fellaini kept being key to the manager’s tactics and several times the Belgian was selected in the Starting XI ahead of Ander Herrera or Morgan Schneiderlin. Him being constantly chosen by Louis van Gaal grew frustration among United fans, but it was all about the process and the way he adapted to the philosophy the manager was installing in the team at the time. Using Fellaini as a plan B surely was one of the most questioned Van Gaal’s decisions, but the manager was a few times right as the Belgian did have an impact in some of the games he came to rescue Van Gaal even changing the boring way United were playing. However, he hasn’t been effective as much as the Dutch would have wished in

However, he hasn’t been effective as much as the Dutch would have wished in first place and there were periods of time when the United midfielder was warned by the Dutch of his attitude as the player had used his elbows once again, costing United a lot. We just need to get back in May 2016 as he missed United’s last three matches after accepting a violent conduct charge form after elbowing Robert Huth. A player that considers himself important for the team would be really careful and not let himself get carried away by the situation. He did escape a ban when we played Arsenal in that fight with Wilshere, but this only shows that these actions were repetitive and he would keep doing them.

Despite not having a bad season, according to stats of course, Fellaini still made it in WhoScored’s ‘The Premier League’s Most Ineffective XI‘ saying that:

“He may have put in a handful of impressive displays in recent weeks but all-in-all it’s been another thoroughly underwhelming campaign for Marouane Fellaini. Primarily used as a target to cause havoc in an opposition box, his displays in midfield have generally been below par, producing the fewest tackles per foul when excluding strikers of outfielders to make 20 or more tackles this season (0.8).”

Leaving it all behind, with a new manager many of us thought that he’d be on his way out and there were reports that the midfielder might join Milan on loan or even be sold permanently as based on the standards that we were all used to, Fellaini surely by mistake lasted this long at United. Apparently, we were all wrong, as Jose Mourinho preferred to keep him to give him another chance.

It started all well and with Fellaini pulling some good performances until September, I personally thought that Mourinho was finally changing him and it was the moment that some United fans including myself owed him an apology after considering him as not appropriate as a United footballer. He was being impressive and in a couple of games he was getting the best out of the Paul Pogba along with Ander Herrera.

However, soon Fellaini showed himself, being poor again causing fouls and not giving the security Jose was hoping in front of the defense. Yet, Jose was still believing him as a substitute and converting him once again in a rescue plan or a plan B. But how did that go? Basing this in the last games, I’d say terrible. Being played to help the team in the back, Fellaini ruined it all for United as a bad interception caused a foul inside the penalty area that awarded Everton a penalty that was converted into a goal.

Pointing out at Jose Mourinho probably won’t help the case at all, as holding the result may not have been the best choice but a late substitute in the 85th minute surely wasn’t expected to have this kind of impact. He was given trust by the manager for the right reasons but he failed in mission, not the first time though. It’s the United manager who should learn from this error as a player like Fellaini can’t be chosen to rescue the team. Slapping him won’t serve as what is done it can’t be changed, but what is for sure important is that the hopes of the team can’t be hanged in a player that in the most important moments would destroy what was created so far.

There are rumours that a few United players are in their way out in January and Fellaini should be first in the list. It’s not just the game against Everton that defined that, but since he was signed Fellaini has never convinced anyone that he is a player that is worth to keep and trust.

Written by Fabiola Cejku

  • Ray

    Confusing me is the bit where Jose says he struggles to convert United from past habits onto new system yet pops Fellaini into the mix. Even LVG learned the hard way the safest place for him [if not the bench] is up front.
    Changing a system is like giving up cigs, you cannot just have a drag now and then, it’s all or nothing. I wondered why Bailly was on the bench if 10 minutes were too much for him. Also I wonder what if his late subs were at the other end how it would pan out. Manchester United never have and I fear never will comfortably do 1-0s. We are all about, “ok you give it your best shot but we will do better”.
    Make a clean break Jose, you know you want to, and you know it is the key to a new successful era.

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