Manchester United came into this restarted season wondering, hoping, if a partnership between Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba could click.
Fernandes proved himself as United’s key man before the lockdown, and now Paul Pogba is back from injury, the two have the opportunity to play together.
On paper the partnership had the potential to be devastating. In reality it is shaping up to be exactly that.
The impact and security of Nemanja Matic playing behind them should not be underestimated either. The trio look to have answered already the conundrum over what Manchester United’s best midfield three looks like.
The Pogba and Fernandes partnership offers real promise for United. Promise of a potentially glorious future. So far it has been perfect.
Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes have played a total of 219 competitive minutes together since the restart.
This spans the time in which Pogba came off the bench against Tottenham, the 77 minutes before they were taken off against Sheffield United, the point onwards against Norwich when Pogba came on with the score at 1-1, and then the first 63 minutes of last night’s match against Brighton.
And in that 219 minutes, Manchester United have bettered the opposition by a combined score of 8-0.
One goal apiece against Tottenham and Norwich, and three each versus Sheffield United and Brighton. Fernandes has scored two of them.
Going well so far
One of the worries about a Pogba and Fernandes combination was that United could be left too open at the back.
These fears are so far miscalculated, with United yet to concede a goal while the pair are on the pitch together.
Matic of course deserves real credit for his role in this, yet it is also Pogba and Fernandes’ quality in possession, and work rate, which stifles teams and allows United to dominate.
Pogba’s assist for Fernandes’ goal yesterday was an ominous sign for opponents. They are beginning to understand each other and link up dangerously.
The job is not yet done. In fact it is only just getting started.
The real test will come when United take on Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final, and possibly beyond that in the final. And then in the mini-Europa League tournament.
They need to show consistency across the rest of the Premier League campaign. We have seen false dawns with Pogba before.
But based on what we have seen so far, and what the numbers tell us, this is a combination which really works, and has limitless potential.
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