Friday 24 November 2017

Comment - Marouane Fellaini has provided a fitting epitaph to his Manchester United career

Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini was sent off in the derby
Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini was sent off in the derby
Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini (left) and Manchester City's Sergio Aguero square up to each other
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

He has been a towering beacon highlighting Manchester United’s mediocrity in the post Alex Ferguson era and now, surely, Marouane Fellaini’s days at the club have been given a fitting epitaph.

With 83 minutes gone in a derby game that lacked the quality you would expect from lavishly funded teams managed by the two most celebrated managers in world football, Fellaini picked this moment to confirm he could not be trusted to rise to the challenge in United red.

While this lacklustre Thursday night affair may not live long in the memory, the contribution of Fellaini most certainly will…and for all the wrong reasons.

Fellaini's efforts to nullify City’s midfield bursts had been relatively successful, as he filled in for the injured Paul Pogba and did as well as can be expected for a player of his limited ability.

United fans have long since given up on the notion that the player David Moyes paid £27.5m to sign in a hurried transfer deadline day deal in the summer of 2013 would be a United match winner or even a journeyman worthy of filling the midfield anchor role once occupied by giants of the game like Bryan Robson or Roy Keane.

Expectations are low every time Fellaini plays for this great club, but this was a night when his stock sank to new depths.

Fellaini was retrained by boss Jose Mourinho as he stormed off the field
Fellaini was retrained by boss Jose Mourinho as he stormed off the field

Indeed, on his 17th start of this Premier League this season, he may well have finally brought down the curtain on a United career that has barely lifted from first base over the last four years.

After getting booked for a foul on Sergio Aguero, Fellaini’s bid to continue his feud with the Argentine striker saw him chase after his rival before flicking his head into the face of the City No.10, who duly crashed to the ground in the final act of a petty feud.

A red card was inevitable outcome, with Mourinho’s angry exchange with Fellaini as he left the field summing up the mood of so many United fans looking on.

The point they eventually collected in this game may be crucial to United’s hopes of a top four finish, yet Fellaini had put his team’s hopes of maintaining their proud unbeaten record in the Premier League that dates back to late October at Chelsea.

What was he thinking? It probably doesn’t matter at this stage, as after Mourinho defended his plodding performer as his clumsiness contributed giving away a penalty that cost United two points at Everton in December, his support for a player who was always a highly paid extra in his cast will now dry up.

He came close to leaving United last summer and again in January, but Fellaini is certain to make his exit from the club now and he may even have played his last game for the club as he prepares to serve a three game ban.

United fans will hope that the end of the Fellaini's days at Old Trafford will signal the start of their revival as while a point in this game boosted their hopes of a top four finish, the manner of their workmanlike performance confirmed that Mourinho is a long way from bringing the glory days back to the club.

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