When Manchester United headed into this restarted season, there was a real debate over who should form the team’s midfield.
With Fred, Scott McTominay, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes all available, there was a lot of discussion over which formation and set of players should play.
Not only that, but there did not seem to be a chance it could be resolved quickly. Yet remarkably, it has.
After a late second half salvo against Tottenham, it became apparent that the trio of Matic, Pogba and Fernandes was a combination which could work in reality and not just on paper.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has recognised this, picking the trio to start United’s last two Premier League games.
It is not just the midfield. Solskjaer clearly now knows his best XI, and it didn’t take long.
The same team which started against Sheffield United were rolled out against Brighton last night, and we have won those two matches by a combined score of 6-0.
The left-back spot is for now, Luke Shaw’s, despite Brandon Williams’ promise. Solskjaer has made his current preference clear. Likewise with Victor Lindelof over
United’s problem position on the right wing has been solved by Mason Greenwood, who is now showing his manager he can be trusted to start Premier League games and that he offers so much more than Dan James.
Solskjaer’s decision was undoubtedly made easier by United’s limp display against Norwich.
He would have wanted one of the stand-ins to step up, and give him a tough decision to make. Only Odion Ighalo did himself justice, but after Anthony Martial’s hat-trick a week ago, the Frenchman’s place is secure.
Instead players like Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata only reinforced the thought that the team which started against Sheffield United was the club’s best one.
We’ve been waiting for this
All season long, United have chopped and changed the team, and it has not felt as though Solskjaer has known his best XI.
If he did know it, he was not able to use it, due to injuries. Now it is a very different scenario.
With Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba fit alongside mid-season signing Bruno Fernandes, this United team is exploring a new attacking potential.
Solskjaer appears to know his best team, already, which is remarkable considering the variety of options available, even if the consistent quality is not the same throughout the squad.
If the cup semi-final was tomorrow, you know exactly who the manager would pick to start.
There may be a couple of changes this weekend at home to Bournemouth for rotational reasons, but there are unlikely to be many.
Solskjaer’s team are clicking, and it is difficult to find a reason to leave out any player who started against the Seagulls last night.
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