Fred’s injury time free-kick summed up Manchester United’s dismal showing at Arsenal. It ballooned into the stands, and probably ensured he won’t be asked to take another set piece for months.
But this should not detract from another promising performance from the Brazilian, who stood out as one of the only players who could hold their head high after the 2-0 loss.
Sure, he had a couple of bad moments like the free-kick, and when he was bundled off the ball on the touchline by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the second half, yet he kept going.
He never stopped showing for the ball and he was key to United dominating the second half, even if there was no goal to show for the team’s efforts.
Busy without reward
Fred saw more of the ball than any player on the pitch, managing 115 touches. The nearest player to him was Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles with 97.
The problem was supplying the front players. Marcus Rashford only managed 33 touches. Fred was not effective as he would like to be in terms of being direct and bringing the ball forward. Arsenal did well to try and stop that.
Fred was one of only three United players to have a shot on target, and in possession he kept it tidy, completing 89 per cent of his passes.
He won three tackles and made two interceptions, which looks better in comparison to Nemanja Matic, who made only one tackle and no interceptions.
Fred’s busy night was better in the context that he has not had a break over the festive period.
The 26-year-old has played all 90 minutes in United’s last 14 Premier League games.
That’s why you might see errors creep into his game, like his terrible free-kick at the end, but you cannot fault his overall effort.
With injuries in midfield to Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba, United need Fred more than ever.
He just needs a little more help around him. Unless he gets it, there will be more inconsistent results.
The result was poor and there were a number of terrible performances. Fred’s efforts gave us something positive to cling onto.
Here is a look at some of the appreciative messages about the Brazilian…