The Art Of Disruption: A Fellaini Story
David Moyes. Louis van Gaal. Now, Jose Mourinho. Post Sir Alex Ferguson has been a mess for Man Utd, it is now under Jose Mourinho that the light is being seen and one of the constants under all three managers, Marouane Fellaini-Bakkioui.
The 6'4, Afro wearing, Belgian midfielder is not most people’s cup of tea, but you sure as hell have to respect that guy. I am known for my displeasure of Marouane Fellaini but this season, I am understanding why he is a constant fixture.
Since signing in 2013, Fellaini has made 138 appearances, done some good, has done a lot of poor things and his style of play is not the most aesthetically pleasing but he manages to get minutes, ahead of players who some consider to be more talented.
This season, Fellaini has come off the bench to great effect, in the SuperCup vs Real Madrid, he came on and the energy was different, against West Ham, he came on the pitch when it was 2–0, the match finished 4–0. Against Swansea, he came on when it was 1–0, the match finished 4–0. Against Leicester it was 1–0, he came off the bench, the match finished 2–0. Granted it is West Ham, Swansea and Leicester (beating Qarabag 6–0 be damned) he comes off the bench and locks up the midfield. Fellaini sits with Matic which in turn allows Paul Pogba to roam free and join the attacking players.
Jose Mourinho meant every word when he said “I feel weaker without Fellaini in my squad, doesn’t matter if it’s on the pitch or on the bench,” he added. “I need him.” Man Utd drew against Stoke but against Basel on Tuesday in the Champions League opener, Fellaini came off the bench for Paul Pogba and put in a Man of the match performance; providing a goal and an assist.
What Fellaini does well, he is physically imposing, he heads the ball and his chest control is impeccable. Above all, he listens to his managers instructions and carries them out as planned. Managers, especially Jose Mourinho loves that. Jose Mourinho will do anything to win a match and someone like Fellaini who has endured boo’s, millions of negative messages on social media, is still at Man Utd, four years later and there are no signs of that reign ending anytime soon.
The whole squad was useless under Moyes and LVG, Man Utd could not defend or build play properly and most of the play would go through Fellaini, especially when chasing the game and that was very unsightly. He became a scapegoat, often seen as David Moyes’ stain on the club, this is further highlighted whenever he makes a mistake. Under Jose, Fellaini has found a new identity and he is doing what is asked of him.
Many would argue that it is early days and it is just a blip in form, with Paul Pogba injured and out for up to six weeks, this will be a test for Mourinho, the squad and Fellaini.
Man Utd fans, myself included, has disrespected Fellaini, it’s actually quite disgusting. Fellaini is akin to Giroud at Arsenal,(except he is not as handsome at the Frenchman) fans want them both out, they are disrepcted, however they do what they do very well and you are not getting rid of them because when you need it, they will come up with a crucial goal or assist.
So here is to the big Belgian, hopefully more fans come around and see the importance of Fellaini to Mourinho’s tactics.