In a new series of articles, FantasySports.co.uk will analyse the likely formation and performance impact that players would have on some of the Premier League’s greatest clubs. Today, we ask the question: ‘How would Shakhtar Donetsk player Fred fit in at Manchester United?’
Our analysis series is to assist Fantasy Premier League managers in understanding the impact Fred could have next season in the English top-flight.
Analysis: How would Shakhtar Donetsk player Fred fit in at Manchester United?
Brazilian midfielder Fred turned heads in last season’s Champions League tournament. The Shakhtar Donetsk player was praised by many coaches and scouts for his ability to win the ball and find teammates in open spaces.
Fred helped Shakhtar Donetsk to the Ukrainian league title as the club bested rivals Dynamo Kiev by two points. It was the third time in Fred’s career that he won the league title with the club.
Fred featured in 37 matches in all competitions, and he scored four goals while recording seven assists. His number of assists shows just how versatile he is in the defensive midfield role.
He also tallied 14 yellow cards and one red card during his 37 appearances. It isn’t bad, especially for a defensive midfielder. But Fantasy Premier League managers may wonder if he will cost them more points than score them.
The Brazilian plays in a deep role as one of two anchor midfielders. Shakhtar Donetsk preferred a 4-2-3-1 formation and Fred was used to win the ball, break up play and stop attackers from getting at the centre-backs. Shakhtar Donetsk gave up the fewest goals in the Ukrainian Premier League with just 24 strikes. Fred’s presence was key to that number being so low.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been looking to strengthening his defence. Fred would be used as part of Mourinho’s defensive midfield and paired with Nemanja Matic. The pairing would give Mourinho two ball winners to protect his – at times – leaky defence.
Mourinho’s best title winning teams were always built on solid defences. Those teams also had expert ball winners in midfield. Fred would give Mourinho another option off the bench or to play from the start.
Last season, Mourinho was frustrated with midfielder Paul Pogba’s inability to play as a defensive midfielder. It resulted in Pogba sitting on the bench for a large stretch and rarely being in-form. Fred would alleviate the defensive frailties the club has with Pogba on the pitch.
Mourinho could either lineup his Manchester United team in a 4-3-3 with Pogba-Matic-Fred sitting in the middle or he could use a Matic-Fred combo with Pogba playing in front of them. Fred offers plenty of options for Mourinho. But the options for fantasy manager might not be so great.
Defensive midfielders aren’t going to win any manager the FPL season. They could cost a fantasy manager due to yellow and red cards, however. Fred would be a player fantasy mangers would need to experiment with. But if he starts losing fantasy teams points, it would be time to drop the midfielder.