Rivals

Bruno Fernandes vs Kevin De Bruyne: Who is better?

Sean Walsh
Image by Matthew Burt
Image by Matthew Burt /
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Manchester United and Manchester City fans stand divided on several issues - how it feels to be small, whether or not the other side has fans from the local area, whether or not the other side even has fans.

Since Bruno Fernandes joined United in January 2020, the red half of town have been eager to anoint him as Manchester's finest playmaker.

He's had to face stiff competition in the form of back-to-back PFA Player of the Year winner Kevin De Bruyne, with Man Utd and Man City supporters at each other's throats about the duo.

As part of 90min's Rivals series, it's time to compare and contrast the two to try and determine which player is better once and for all.


1. Creativity

De Bruyne is brilliant at set pieces
De Bruyne is brilliant at set pieces /

Ooh boy, it could hardly be closer for our first category.

With six assists to two, Fernandes' passing and vision has been rewarded more often than De Bruyne's this season despite playing in a worse team.

However, that isn't a huge disparity and it's not as if De Bruyne isn't helping out at the top end of the pitch, while the Belgian still boasts an impressive record of four double-figure assist seasons from his last five.

It's a tough one, but the City man just about edges it.

Winner: De Bruyne

2. Goalscoring

Bruno Fernandes is a goalscorer
Bruno Fernandes is a goalscorer /

While assist totals sometimes don't show the full picture of a player's creativity, goal tallies are the only needed measure to tell you how good a scorer someone is.

So what do these stats tell us? De Bruyne's seven Premier League goals this term - roughly what he usually grabs in a season - are a decent haul, but Fernandes has stepped up and outscored even Cristiano Ronaldo (from open play, at least), totalling nine strikes in league action so far.

Winner: Fernandes

3. Dribbling

The stats back De Bruyne
The stats back De Bruyne /

Okay, let's be honest. For as good as both of these midfielders are, neither is exactly a silky dribbler.

That's not to say they're hard to watch when weaving through challenges, but, you know, there isn't much finesse about how they play.

Fernandes averages a lowly 0.82 completed dribbles per 90 in the Premier League, ranking him in the ninth percentile among other top-flight players.

De Bruyne's average of 1.53 has him in the 92nd percentile but that doesn't tell the whole picture - when the Belgian has the ball at his feet, you just expect him to drive with the ball a little before picking a pass or a shot.

Winner: De Bruyne

4. Fitness & availability

Fernandes is nearly always fit
Fernandes is nearly always fit /

Pep Guardiola's famed FPL roulette and rotation of his star players has meant that De Bruyne's injury and fitness woes over the last few seasons have slipped under the radar.

In Man City's last two title-winning campaigns, De Bruyne made a combined 34 starts - that doesn't even accumulate to one whole season.

Meanwhile, Fernandes has been ready and available for pretty much every game while a player at Man Utd. According to Transfermarkt, he hasn't missed a match through injury since the 2018/19 campaign.

When you factor in that he is probably United's most important player and so needs to be in the starting lineup twice a week, Fernandes' ability to keep in shape is most definitely an underrated trait of his.

Winner: Fernandes

Results

As you can see, this one was too close for us to decide a winner, so we decided to throw it over to you guys.

It wasn't particularly close either with De Bruyne winning with an incredible 74% of the vote.

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