Bruno Fernandes and Kevin De Bruyne are star performers for Manchester United and Manchester City, respectively, but who is more important for their team?
Using Premier League statistics since January 1, 2020, the PA news agency takes a look at which of the clubs is more reliant on their playmaker ahead of Wednesday’s derby clash in the Carabao Cup semi-finals.
Fernandes joined United at the end of the winter transfer window in 2020, making his debut in a goalless draw against Wolves on February 1. Despite giving everyone else a month’s head start, the Portugal international has the most direct goal contributions in the Premier League since the start of last year.
Fernandes has been involved in 33 goals, two more than nearest rival Mohamed Salah of Liverpool, who won the title last season, with De Bruyne back in fifth place on 25.
Fernandes also has the edge over De Bruyne in terms of goals scored since his arrival in the Premier League. The 26-year-old has hit the back of the net 19 times in the league, with nine coming from the penalty spot. Only Salah (23) has scored more goals. De Bruyne has scored just nine in total, with four of his strikes coming from penalties.
United’s talisman has netted 15 times in all competitions for his club so far this season, while the Belgian has just three goals to his name.
De Bruyne is the king of assists in the Premier League in the last year, but he only just pips his rival to that accolade. City’s playmaker has set up 16 goals for his team-mates – two more than Fernandes. The only other player in the Premier League to hit double figures for assists since January 1, 2020 is Tottenham’s Harry Kane (11).
The 29-year-old De Bruyne has eight assists so far this season while Fernandes has seven. They are second and third in the rankings, respectively, behind Kane (11).
Influence since Fernandes joined United?
Last season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had a 37.5 per cent win rate without Fernandes in the team – which increased to 64.3 per cent with him in the starting XI. United simply score more goals, concede fewer and collect more points with the Portuguese playmaker in the heart of midfield.
However, the same can be said of De Bruyne’s impact. The Belgian has been left out of the starting line-up eight times in the Premier League over the past two seasons and City’s win rate plummeted in those games – down from 70 per cent with him to 37.5 per cent without.