For Manchester United and Manchester City, respectively, Bruno Fernandes and Kevin De Bruyne are key players – so who is more important to their club?
Goal threat statistics
Fernandes has yet to score one of his 18 shots in the Premier League this season from outside the box, but inside the penalty area it’s a different matter – converting seven of his 12 shots, including three converted penalties from four attempts.
Just four times out of 17 attempts on goal inside the opposition box, including three penalty attempts, has De Bruyne managed to reach the mark four times, although several of his goals from range have also been far-fetched.
The lines in the graph below show the directions of each pass that led to a goal opportunity, showing how Fernandes likes playing raking balls from deep, left-of-center zones, notching this word with two assists from that delivery – in addition to also finding teammates from right-sided corners.
As for De Bruyne, from the right-of-centre zones, he always delivers the killer pass and has also recorded two assists from this preferred position. Notably, he created seven less chances than Fernandes, however, crucially, he registered two more assists, meaning that his chances were superior in consistency.
The graph below illustrates how Fernandes tries, with a growing emphasis on the left flank, to push across the width of the pitch in the opposition half.
Furthermore the direction of its distribution is almost perfectly symmetrical, going mostly forward and occasionally backward, although its propensity to fire long balls limits its precision of passage.
De Bruyne tries to pass in nearly similar places to Fernandes, but the direction of his delivery is more erratic – often trying to pass to his inside-right and recording a marginally higher degree of passing precision with less long passes attempted.
The graphic below illustrates how Fernandes tries to release Marcus Rashford or Mason Greenwood behind defensive lines down the flanks with even longer pitches.
De Bruyne averages more ball recoveries per 90 than Bruno, as previously referenced, which means he picks more loose balls, with City among the best sides to press from the front.
But the United midfielder leads the way again with box-to-box performance in terms of all defensive acts – while De Bruyne’s actions appear to be separated inside the opposition half down the left lane.