Fantasy premier league player profile – a focus on Bruno Fernandes


With plenty of time before the Premier League starts here’s our fantasy premier league player profile article where we take a closer look at Bruno Fernandes. 

Fantasy premier league player profile – a focus on Bruno Fernandes


Fernandes joined Manchester United in the January transfer window on the 19/20 season.

The 6 foot 25 year old Portugese midfielder  signed a 5 1/2 year contract with the option to extend for a further year.

United will pay an initial fee of around £46.6m to Sporting, with potential add-ons taking the overall deal to £68m.

Prior to that he spent two and a half seasons at Sporting Lisbon before joining Man Utd.  Prior to that he played a season in Sampdoria in 16/17 and for 2 seasons before that for Udinese.

Here’s the league only stats for the last 3 seasons from transfermarkt;

bruno fernandes

He’s also played 19 times for Portugal for 2 goals.  In the last 3 seasons in all competitions he’s played 65% of the time as a CAM and 11% as a secondary striker.  That dwarfs the 23% as a CM.

The stats for Sporting are nothing short of eye watering.  They’re the goals per minute that you’d expect from an elite striker.

The Man Utd stats albeit on 5 games and boosted by a penalty are also incredibly impressive.  However we’ve yet to look under the hood at them.

Man Utd

Overall improvement to Man Utd

Fernandes has had a transformational effect on Man Utd.  Since he’s joined they are 2nd in the form table to Liverpool despite difficult fixtures in those 5 games.  The problem before he joined was the lack of creativity in the CAM position which meant United struggled to break down sides which sat deep and defended.

His creativity isn’t just limited to the output stats we look at as FPL managers.  Since coming into the Premier League only Rodri has played more passes into the final third and only Alexander Arnold has played more passes into the penalty area.  Since coming into the team the goals scored  and the goals conceded improved as well as the points per game.  No team has scored more from dead ball situations and their counter attack has improved.

The FPL factor

Stats are from the free site understat

The £8.5m FPL midfielder,  in the 5 games he’s played CAM for Man Utd which is a big positive rather than being a CM which was possible.

His return in 5 games has been an FPL leading points per match of 7.6.  He also has primary set piece responsibility as well as penalty duties at least until Marcus Rashford returns.  Although give Rashford’s rather patchy record he could retain them.

That looks fantastic on the face it but now is time to look under the hood to see what’s happening with his underlying stats.

His shots per game at 3.8 is mind blowing and up there with Salah.  His key passes per game is nothing shabby either.  It’s just once you get to the xG and xA that it all gets questionable.

His non penalty xG is 0.15 and xA is 0.19 which is quite frankly terrible.  That puts him at the 95th ranked non penalty xG player.  Behind Jeffrey Schlupp.  His xA 90 sees him at 59th for players with the same minutes.

Even when you add on the probably unsustainable  penalty boost it’s 0.31 and 0.19.  Converting even the penalty xG to FPL points in my GW30 midfield player rankings only has him 13th in the last 10 gameweeks even when adjusted for 10 gameweeks played.  His value for money factor is slightly under my target of 10 at 9.5 though.

How do you explain it?  Firstly he’s over performing his stats pretty significantly.  Although there is no way of seeing whether this was the case in Portugal it wasn’t typical in Italy that’s for sure.

Also lets look at his shot map.  To say it’s not pretty is an understatement.

So what does this mean?

Fernandes certainly seems to have improved Man Utd and his all action fulcrum of United’s attack certainly makes him pleasing on the eye.  It’s also worth saying that a player with primary set piece responsibility is always attraction. He also has penalty duties which is a big big plus and certainly isn’t something that common with midfielders.

His volume shooting is great but your evaluation of him depends on whether you think his xG and xA is relevant to the debate.  Many FPL managers don’t.   In some ways he is a superior version of  James Maddison who has alot of the same qualities but also has pretty ordinary underlying expected stats.  At the moment Fernandes is over performing his stats but it’s questionable whether that can continue given at least his, albeit dated,  Italian history which doesn’t really support that fact.

So for me I’m just not convinced given the underlying stats.  However he is a player who could become template given a good fixture run and his impressive actual returns could be worth a gamble in those circumstances.

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