Manchester United Football Club secured a huge result in Turin last night, becoming the first team this season to beat Juventus.
The Red Devils were more than holding their own against Cristiano Ronaldo and company, until the former United hero struck. United were down late, but a quick double-salvo turned things around – with Jose Mourinho’s men taking all three points.
Again, the unlikely gamechanger was Marouane Fellaini. He was a second-half substitute who used his physicality to great effect; causing a real nuisance of himself for the winner.
Our Belgian has certainly come an awfully long way from fan furore from the Old Trafford crowd. Now, he looks more than worthy of the new contract that he deservedly was given over the summer.
— OldTraffordFaithful (@OTFaithful) November 8, 2018
The team just perform a whole lot better when Fellaini is involved. I’d argue that he has been our second-best midfielder this term, behind a certain Paul Pogba… I think the fact that United score more goals-per-minute when he’s playing tells you everything you need to know.
The minutes-per-goal drops down by a whole 15 minutes, which over the course of a long season certainly plays its part; particularly in those tight-knit games against the bigger and better sides.
It’s not just the goals, either. It’s the effort, the presence, the toughness in the tackle. Fellaini’s tall, strong and physical. He really does have it all, and when the ex-Everton man has the confidence flowing, he genuinely is borderline unstoppable.
Credit has to go to Mourinho for that. The trust placed in him by the self-proclaimed Special One is a massively important factor. At this level, the difference in skill is so minuscule, it’s all about belief.
With the Manchester derby on the horizon, I certainly wouldn’t rule out Fellaini starting. He’d bring a bite to the midfield that is desperately required, particularly when Nemanja Matic isn’t playing his best stuff of late.
Even if Matic does return to form, having Fellaini as an option from the bench is pivotal. He proved his worth as a super sub against arguably the best team in Europe. When the legs are a little tired, bringing on a player with his height, power and presence is the last thing that opposing defenders will want to see…