Six ways Manchester United can replace Bruno Fernandes v Burnley

Bruno Fernandes will miss Manchester United’s match with Burnley on Thursday night after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season against Newcastle.

There was a case to drop Fernandes in any case considering his poor performance, and his absence creates an opportunity for others to impress.

The matter of who should replace Fernandes is not necessarily srtaightforward. United have varying options who can slot into the attacking 4-2-2-2 system, even with Paul Pogba still out injured.

We are assuming Jadon Sancho already gets the start, and Marcus Rashford is not considered for the role after he played there experimentally against Newcastle without success.

Here is a look at six players who United could select against Burnley as Fernandes’ replacement…


Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images

Donny van de Beek

One of the most likely options, Donny van de Beek has not yet started a Premier League game under Ralf Rangnick.

When Van de Beek did feature against Young Boys, it was in a deeper defensive role. Against Burnley he could get the chance to show what he can do in an attacking position.

The role could suit him well, playing alongside another talented technical player in Jadon Sancho. With Sancho, the pressure to create won’t solely land on him, and Van de Beek can get into the penalty box more frequently, where he often did damage for Ajax.

Van de Beek’s ball retention can show him up as a very different option to Fernandes, who has been far too error prone in recent matches with poor passing.

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Jesse Lingard

Jesse Lingard is the next most likely option for United after Van de Beek. Like his teammate, he has barely featured under Rangnick so far.

It’s possible this match could serve as a goodbye for Lingard at Old Trafford, with the transfer window set to open days later. In the meantime, United can still get some use out of him.

Lingard could put himself in the shop window with a strong performance and he should be motivated to give a good account of himself.

Juan Mata

One wildcard choice would be for Rangnick to turn to experienced veteran Juan Mata as a stand-in for Bruno Fernandes.

Like with Lingard, this could be one of the final opportunities Mata has left in front of a packed Old Trafford.

While he did not make the bench against Newcastle, he will be hopeful of being in the squad against Burnley.

Mason Greenwood

Mason Greenwood could get a chance in the role Rashford played in against Newcastle, with Edinson Cavani expected to partner Ronaldo up front.

Greenwood is more naturally suited for this role, with his ability with both feet and his creativity making him adept for a creative central role.

He has rarely been given a chance in this position for United with Fernandes a regular, and him previously being needed on the right wing. This could be the night he plays a different role.

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The really brave selection would be for Rangnick to call up Hannibal for his first Premier League start. Just being on the bench would admittedly be a step in the right direction.

After his impressive performances at the Arab Cup, Hannibal has joined United’s first team squad, before he heads off to the AFCON again with Tunisia.

There could be a small window of opportunity for United to involve him in this fixture.


Amad is not heading to the AFCON and he could also be in contention for a role with Fernandes out injured.

It would be a big surprise if Amad were to start, however, considering he did not make the bench against Norwich or Newcastle.

The youngster has been playing a prominent role in training lately and did feature against Young Boys. He could be back in the squad for Thursday’s game.

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