Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford are acting like they’re undroppable — They’re not

Anticipation for Manchester United’s return after 16 days out of action turned to anguish for supporters around two minutes after Ralf Rangnick’s side kicked off against Newcastle.

Harry Maguire’s comical error in the opening exchanges was just the start of an extremely frustrating evening for those in Red — and it wasn’t long afterwards when Allan Saint-Maximin took full advantage of a mistake from the returning Raphaël Varane.

It was a dreadful showing from start to finish for the side that wanted to leapfrog West Ham and Tottenham into fifth place by the end of the night.

Yet, two performances stood out particularly — David de Gea was excellent between the sticks and his diving save in the late stages of the game ensured United collected a point at St James.

Edinson Cavani was also a breath of fresh air when he came off the bench. He grabbed the equaliser with an instinctive finish, and while he could’ve had added to his tally afterwards, his ability to get into the dangerous positions to get these chances is what makes him such a useful player when fit.

However, on the other end of the spectrum, two other United players were very poor — yet again.

Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes arguably carried the club through long stretches of last season. They were constantly winning games for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side through their contributions.

Yet, this is this season, and they’ve both been underwhelming for the most part. Bruno’s European showing has been a high point, but over the last month; his performances have hit a brick wall.

The Portuguese Magnifico — known for his killer pass — needs to realise when and where he should be attempting those passes.

Too many times he pointlessly conceded possession to the hosts with a hopeful pass which barely came off, and when we did see Bruno make the correct decisions, he set Diogo Dalot up in the build-up for Cavani’s goal.

But, for every good pass that the midfielder made, he played five which left everyone else scratching their heads. Too often he’d launch the ball towards the other end of the pitch with no idea whether someone was even making a run in this direction. The midfielder played 13 long passes through the game, with only three finding the correct target.

United’s manager wants his side to control football matches, however, with Bruno playing the way he is; as the primary creator; there’s little chance of that happening.

The German manager set up with a front four of Cristiano Ronaldo, Rashford, Bruno and Mason Greenwood, three of which are looking to score goals rather than link play, and Bruno is often too busy looking for the pass of the game to link the play — although, that is also because he’s often the only player able to make that game-winning pass.

That leaves United with not one player who is a consistent link from defence to attack. If Jadon Sancho is somehow not on the pitch, someone like Paul Pogba or Donny van de Beek must take his place.

It also appears that we’re seeing a different player to the one that has terrorised defenders in past years. Marcus Rashford has looked a shadow of his former self since returning from injury in October.

His timid approach when facing up defenders perhaps shows a lack of confidence, but it is also his decision making and execution when he’s in the final third which is making his inclusions in the starting line-ups increasingly irritating.

Rashford’s another that seems too busy with complaints to play a good game. He allowed Sainte-Maximin to nick the ball from under his feet because he was still protesting to the referee about a supposed handball five seconds earlier.

An improved second half from the 24-year-old was still not up to standard. When he eventually found himself in some space closing towards Newcastle’s penalty area just after half time, United’s no.10 opted for a hopeful effort from range, rather than choosing to progress the move into a better position.

A lack of conviction from Rashford in attacking zones has made his efforts look amateurish at times. Although, he did thrive off of combinations with Luke Shaw on the left last season, and Alex Telles was giving him little of the same on Tyneside.

Where you can forgive poor performances, both of these players are beginning to seem too comfortable. Bruno would prefer to moan at the referee about almost any decision made on the pitch, and Rashford isn’t much better.

There is absolutely no question that these two players are amazing talents, and will more than likely be crucial to any success that United have in the near future, but they should not be undroppable, and it seems that it’s the case currently.

Neither should’ve lasted the 90 minutes against Norwich two weeks ago, and neither should’ve in Newcastle on Monday evening; however, they did on both occasions.

Jadon Sancho’s demotion to the bench seemed to be a mindless decision from Rangnick; we can only imagine that he was one of those who were affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in the camp. Meanwhile, Donny van de Beek watched on from the bench – again.

Rangnick probably didn’t want to rip the entire script that Solskjær and Michael Carrick had left him straight away — he already has introduced Dalot and Alex Telles to the line-up due to the poor form of their counterparts in Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw.

However, it seems that a decision of whether to change the attacking pieces in his team is being made for him by the performances on the pitch.

Bruno and Rashford will hopefully regain some of that fire that made them so potent last season if they realise they’re not undroppable.

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