Marouane Fellaini‘s debut in a Manchester derby last year was not one any fans will look back on with fondness.
The Belgian midfielder was pedestrian, disinterested and sloppy at the Etihad. Up against Yaya Toure, he failed to exert any sort of influence on the game which gave City the impetus and space to dominate the midfield en route to a humiliating 4-1 victory.
At that stage, not one United fan would have voted Fellaini to start the following game yet 13 months later, 93% of fans voted yes in a poll for Fellaini to start against City this weekend and rightly so.
Fellaini was given the task of keeping Cesc Fabregas on Sunday and did so in a reassuringly composed fashion. Facing off with Nemanja Matic didn’t seem to phase Fellaini either, if anything he went toe to toe with him and more than matched Chelsea’s threatening midfield.
Chelsea was an acid test for Fellaini and he passed so deserves the plaudits he received after being named man of the match. Should he be in the starting XI to face City? A lot of United fans think so.
When he was hailed as ‘United’s Yaya Toure’ after joining last year, it was more a reference to him bringing some real physical presence into midfield rather than matching his quality. That’s precisely what he did against Chelsea and if United are to have a chance of beating City this weekend, they’ll need that same sort of presence in midfield again or will risk being overrun like last year.