THIS may come as a surprise, actually it won’t because you’ve already read the headline, no player has earned more bonus points from match ratings than Bruno Fernandes (£5.3m) this season.
Manchester United’s midfield talisman registered his 18th rating of 7+ in Saturday’s Manchester derby.
His controversial goal (anyone else exhausted from all the talk of interference?) was the first of a quickfire double that saw the Red Devils come from behind to beat Manchester City 2-1.
Kieran Trippier (£6.2m) and Kevin De Bruyne (£7.6m) also have 18 7+ ratings to their name this term but Dream Team bosses would probably have guessed as much.
Newcastle’s vice-captain is by far and away the game’s best defender while the Belgian creator is king among midfielders at this stage.
That Fernandes rivals this pair in the eyes of our ratings providers, WhoScored, is somewhat unexpected because it wasn’t that long ago the Portuguese playmaker was subjected to frequent criticism.
Fernandes is collecting 7+ ratings for fungetty
In truth, he has been a victim of his own success at times.
Last season, he scored ten goals and provided 14 assists in all competitions – a haul of goal involvements that is more than respectable for a player in his position.
Nevertheless, some fans felt this return represented a significant drop-off from his outrageous debut campaign in Man United colours – 28 goals and 17 assists in 2020/21!
It’s probably fairer to reflect upon that season as a Herculean effort rather than the norm.
Some criticisms levelled at Fernandes in the last year have been valid though, his passionate nature on the pitch often transfers to petulance and when things aren’t clicking for him he gives the ball away with frustrating regularity.
But ever since Erik ten Hag steadied the ship after an initial wobble, United’s No8 has been increasingly influential.
Man United’s results have been impressive in recent monthsgetty
Four goals and five assists represents a decent return at this stage without causing any jaws to drop but it’s the way he has adapted to the new regime that has led to a flurry of positive match ratings.
In fact, he’s produced nine consecutive 7+ ratings at club level, a streak that extends to 14 games if his World Cup appearances are factored in – Dream Team World Cup managers will remember his plentiful returns in Qatar.
Ten Hag has improved Man United considerably in a relatively short space of time and Fernandes’ uplift in form has one been one of several successes for the Dutch tactician.
With 89 points to his name, the 28-year-old is Dream Team’s fifth-best midfielder at the time of writing and yet he’s half as popular as the man three points behind him, Miguel Almiron (£3.4m), although of course the Newcastle winger has offered incredible value for money.
Fernandes may not be the unstoppable machine he was in 2020/21 but Dream Team gaffers would be foolish to disregard him entirely, his quietly going about his business very well.