Over the past year, no team has taken more Premier League points than United
Manchester United may have surrendered top spot in the Premier League with a shock home defeat to bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United, but the fact the Red Devils are even involved in a title race is testament to Bruno Fernandes' first 12 months at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men travel to Arsenal Saturday a year to the day since the Portuguese midfielder joined a side languishing 30 points off the top in fifth place.
Solskjaer's days in charge looked numbered after a toxic response from the home support to a 2-0 defeat to Burnley in United's final league game before Fernandes' arrival.
In 52 appearances, the 26-year old has scored 28 goals and provided 18 assists, earning comparisons to Eric Cantona's talismanic turnaround in United's fortunes.
Over the past year, no team has taken more Premier League points than United.
However, Fernandes' impact goes beyond the stats.
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For a side badly in need of a leader, the former Sporting Lisbon captain has come to the fore, demanding that others match his standards.
That has led to on-pitch rebukes of his teammates and frustration at Solskjaer whenever he is substituted or rested.
But it is also a commitment to excellence has often been missing from United in the eight years since legendary former manager Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
Solskjaer praised Fernandes after he came off the bench to score the winner with a stunning free-kick against Liverpool in the FA Cup last weekend.
The most successful club in English football history when it comes to league titles have not even competed for one since Sir Alex’s departure.
United had not suffered defeat in the league for 13 games stretching back to November until they were blunted by the Blades in midweek.
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Manchester City have moved into the pole position at the top of the table with an ominous run for the other challengers of 11 consecutive wins in all competitions.
If United are to remain in the race, a return to winning ways is needed at the Emirates Saturday, where they have lost on their two previous visits under Solskjaer.
Those defeats came prior to Fernandes' arrival.
In the past year, United have undoubtedly progressed, but without trophies to show for it.
Solskjaer's men have lost four cup semi-finals in the past two seasons and crashed out of the Champions League at the group stages in December.
Fernandes said top players are still attracted to United.
A four-year drought without any silverware is too long for a club of United's size, but it is thanks to Fernandes they are at least now contenders.