Fellaini's game-changing moments for United
Belgium's World Cup star Marouane Fellaini coming off the bench to help change a game is nothing new.
The midfielder, who signed a new contract with Manchester United last week, has been greatly valued by all his managers. A potent aerial weapon, not just at set-pieces, he unsettles even the best of defences.
He is a lot more than a simple 'Plan B', as his impressive display against England in the group stages from the start testified, but is always capable of producing the goods by way of making an instant impact. It takes very little time for Fellaini to alter the pattern of a game and make things happen.
When Roberto Martinez needed to do something to prevent his highly-fancied team crashing out of the tournament in Russia, Fellaini was an obvious option. Japan suddenly looked far from comfortable and, of course, he rose to head in Eden Hazard's cross to level the scores at 2-2, before fellow sub Nacer Chadli's stoppage-time winner on the break.
We all know what Fellaini can bring to the party and he has scored seven times when coming off the bench at United. Yet there are countless other occasions when his presence has led to a change in fortunes and a positive influence on the proceedings.
Even against the best team in Europe, a claim sustained by Real Madrid's Champions League triumph over Liverpool in May, Fellaini ruffled the Spanish aristocrats' feathers when coming on in the UEFA Super Cup final in the 2-1 defeat in Macedonia at the start of last season.
Arsenal had no answer to the 31-year-old when he bagged the late winner towards the end of the campaign, having already hit the woodwork before Marcus Rashford's rebound was disallowed for offside. The Gunners had previously looked to be comfortably securing a draw but his intervention and celebration, patting the badge, convinced Jose Mourinho that he would commit his future to Old Trafford.
So Fellaini is capable of altering the course of any match - as his work in a World Cup knockout clash attests. There are not too many players of his ilk around and there must be confidence he will continue to provide this sort of threat. Everybody knows what is coming - but it seems not many defences can do anything about it.
FELLAINI'S UNITED GOALS AS A SUB:
West Brom (A) 2-2 - 20 Oct 2014
His first strike for the Reds was a powerful shot in the box as United twice came from behind to draw, with Daley Blind also getting off the mark for his new club late on. He replaced Ander Herrera at the break for Louis van Gaal's men.
QPR (A) 2-0 - 17 Jan 2015
Again, a half-time introduction, this time for Juan Mata, he helped the Reds put on a dominant display after the break - firing home before another sub, James Wilson, completed the scoring at the death.
Club Brugge (H) 3-1 18 Aug 2016
This was a vital two-legged affair with the Champions League group stages awaiting the victors. Coming on for Wayne Rooney, Fellaini's injury-time header made things a lot more comfortable and it came against his former manager at Standard Liege, Michel Preud'homme.
“I know Fellaini, of course, and he is very strong in that situation,”said the Brugge boss.
Hull City (H) 2-0 - 10 Jan 2017
United were struggling to take a lead into the away leg of the League Cup semi-final before Mata broke the deadlock and, when Fellaini replaced the Spaniard in the 79th minute, there was only a slender advantage. The midfield man got on the end of a Matteo Darmian cross to bag what would be the eventually decisive goal in the tie as United went on to lift the trophy at Wembley.
Leicester (H) 2-0 - 26 Aug 2017
The Foxes had proved tough nuts to crack but Rashford had already broken through, after Romelu Lukaku's penalty was saved by Kasper Schmeichel, when Felli converted a cross by Jesse Lingard with his knee to make the three points safe.
Basel (H) 3-0 - 12 Sep 2017
Another Champions League goal for the towering Red, after he replaced the injured Paul Pogba. This was a trademark header to an Ashley Young cross during the first half.
“I feel weaker without Fellaini in my squad,” confessed Jose.
“It doesn't matter if it is on the pitch or on the bench.”
Arsenal (H) 2-1 29 Apr 2018
The Gunners may have fielded a much-changed side but were looking decent value for a point following ex-Red Henrikh Mkhitaryan's equaliser. The previously composed Arsenal defence just could not contain the United sub, who wreaked havoc. The disallowed goal by Rashford should have ensured it remained 1-1 but there was still time for Marouane to direct a perfectly placed header into the net for a dramatic late winner.