Man United’s Fellaini Could Be Mourinho’s Secret Weapon On Derby Day

With key midfielder Paul Pogba missing through suspension for this weekend’s up and coming Manchester derby, Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho will have to find a suitable replacement.

It looks to be a toss up between Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera.

Both central midfield stars have their plus points but I believe the big Belgian will be the one that gets the nod from his manager.

It’s true that Herrera gets around the field and that he makes more tackles than his counterpart. He also shone against Chelsea last term and did a terrific job marking Eden Hazard out of the game back in April.

But this season United have Nemanja Matic and the Serbian international will be on hand to do a lot of the defensive duties against Manchester City this Sunday. It looks as though David Silva is struggling with an injury and if he misses out then the need for another constant tackler won’t be as immediate in the engine room.

So why do I believe that Fellaini could be the man to take the start berth on derby day? 

Well it could all be about height and strength.

Pep Guardiola’s Man City side have been phenomenal this season. They’ve not lost a Premier League game so far this term and pundits are suggesting the free-scoring Sky Blues may go the full season unbeaten in the English top flight.

One possible weak-link for the Citizens could be their lack of aerial power. It was certainly an issue when they lost the opening goal in their win over West Ham last weekend. They also conceded a sloppy goal at a corner against Huddersfield last month.

We all know that 6ft 4in Fellaini is terrific in the air. His leap and commanding presence helps his side all over the park. Defensively he wins headers in his own box and clears away danger. In the opponents penalty air he wins headers and those can end up at the striker’s feet or in the back of the net. While in the middle of the park he can win flick-ons that help start attacks for his side and keeps the ball away from his team’s defensive line.

The Belgian international has won on average 3.2 headers per competitive game during this campaign. Only Romelu Lukaku and centre back Chris Smalling have better league aerial battle stats this season for Old Trafford side. No Man City player has won more duels in the air than Marouane this year.

It should also be noted that the experienced midfielder is handy in the tackle and he’s quite tidy with the ball at his feet also. He also has the strength needed to bully opponents. United have won 89% of games with Fellaini in the starting line up and they also statistically seem to score more goals too.

We all know that Jose Mourinho is partial to using more defensive tactics against the top sides in the Premier League. He doesn’t care how he gets his points as long as he does. If that means going more direct or route one against Pep’s team then so be it. The Red Devils boss will believe that set-pieces could be vital in securing a victory against his rivals and the Portuguese manager will know that Fellaini will offer great hope in those positions.

It might be seen as a blessing in disguise that Pogba misses out this clash. The French star has been in great form and looks superb going forward but he’s yet to dominate in the biggest of clashes and he isn’t as defensively disciplined as a Fellaini or a Herrera.

Jose trusts Marouane and that’s another huge plus for the tall Belgian. Last month the United gaffer had this to say about his midfielder battler:

“I have to say that Fellaini was fantastic for me, his fellow players, for the fans, for the team, for the club. He was injured for weeks, he trained yesterday for the first time with the team and he put himself on the line, ready to come in and help in case the team needed him. So I am really pleased with him and I didn’t want to go without saying that about Marouane.”

It will be interesting to see what line-up Mourinho decides on for the derby game. I really believe he’ll include Marouane Fellaini and I think he’ll believe that the thirty year old could make all the difference as Man Utd look to close the gap between themselves and their noisy neighbours!

2 Responses to “Man United’s Fellaini Could Be Mourinho’s Secret Weapon On Derby Day”

  1. The game is gonna be a barren draw – both teams playing with brakes on and fear of losing.

  2. The game is gonna be a barren draw – both teams playing with brakes on and fear of losing. However, I won’t bat an eyelid if it goes to City. A slim victory that is.

Leave a Reply