We continue with our Manchester Untied season ending reviews, taking a closer look at every player and how they did during the 2020-21 campaign. Next up on our schedule is Fred, Brazilian midfielder who often divides opinion of fans. He was one of the players Ole Gunnar Solskjaer liked to rely in midfield, alongside with Scott McTominay, making the two of them a preferred central midfield partnership when both of them were available for selection. So how Fred fared this past season? Here is what you need to know.
Fred has made 48 appearances for Manchester United during the 2020-21 season, scoring one goal and assisting another two. But goals and assists were not his main preoccupation. Fred played a total of 3750 minutes this past season, which shows exactly how much faith Solskjaer has put into the Brazilian. He made 30 appearances in the Premier League, eight in the Europa League, four in the Champions League and three each in both domestic cup competitions. But what about his underlying metrics?
Fred did very well in terms of defensive numbers, compared to other Premier League defenders. He was between the 90th and the 96th percentile in all categories of pressures, tackles, interceptions and blockes per 90 minutes. While that is an amazing thing to see, these numbers lack context and often Fred would be the one running all around the pitch and being dribbled past too easily. He has been dribbled past on average 2.14 times per 90 minutes spent on the pitch, which is far from great. Fred’s energy is commendable, but the fact he has to make a lot of tackles is not always a great thing, even though that is often his job. His positioning is often lacking in quality and thus, such thing cannot be measured by numbers. Fred’s passing this past season was decent enough, even in terms of progressive passes per 90, which he had 5.68. His pass completion was good with 88.6 per cent, even though he does not strike one as the most composed player in possession.
Fred is one of those players that can be useful and from time to time can perform very well, but he is ultimately a player which shows United’s deeper problems, in terms of recruitment and managerial changes which have brought changes in team’s style of play. Now under Solskjaer, Fred has improved in a more settled system, but he is still not the player Man United fans were hoping to get for 50 million pounds. That is probably never going to come and, truth be told, Fred himself is not at fault that the club heavily overpaid when they were signing him from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2018.
The Brazilian midfielder can be of good use to this team for the next season as well, but it would be interesting to see if he can evolve and become a more tactically disciplined and reliable player. We will see if he and Solskjaer’s plans for 2021-22 can evolve, but it would be of huge importance for club to sign another player in this position.