Bruno Fernandes will be going into the clash against Leicester knowing that he won’t be paid special attention to by Wilfred Ndidi, and this could be a massive advantage for Manchester United.
If Brendan Rodgers’ number one holding midfielder was fit for the clash at the King Power stadium, he would have most likely focused on nullifying the threat of Fernandes.
But the Foxes will be without the Nigerian after he picked up a hamstring injury last month during the Foxes’ 2-2 draw against Burnley.
That will mean Rodgers will have to play either Hamza Choudhury, Boubakary Soumare or possibly even both alongside Youri Tielemans.
With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer definitely not having Fred available, Paul Pogba will probably come into central midfield, which could mean Jadon Sancho gets his first Premier League start since Cristiano Ronaldo’s homecoming against Newcastle.
Fernandes could run riot against Leicester
With two goals and an assist already to his name against Leicester, Fernandes could pick up the pockets of spaces Ndidi would usually occupy and punish the Foxes.
If the Portuguese star is afforded time and space on the ball then he could create a host of chances for the likes of Ronaldo and possibly a returning Marcus Rashford.
We know that Leicester are vulnerable at the back, but the absence of Ndidi makes them that more fragile.
Rodgers is naturally an attack-minded manager, but if he comes after Solskjaer’s team without his usual protective screen in Ndidi to combat any potential counter attacks, United and Fernandes could have a field day.
That doesn’t mean that Choudhury or Soumare aren’t capable of doing a similar job but Choudhury only made his first Premier League appearance of the season against Crystal Palace and Soumare is still adapting to the rigours of the English game.
Alternatively, if Rodgers does decide to try and man mark Fernandes out of the game that could give Pogba the freedom to hurt Leicester or even space for Scott McTominay to make runs from deep.
Fernandes, the leader that he is will be eager to get this United team off to a confident start in a challenging run of fixtures.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see United’s number 18, who has created the most chances in the Premier League this season, hurt Leicester due to the absence of one of the best holding midfielder players around in Ndidi.
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