Paul Pogba is a surprise absentee from United’s squad against Burnley.

The Frenchman is not even on the bench, with Solskjaer’s official line being that he is being rested.

PA’s Simon Peach reported that Solskjaer says Pogba has played too much to be considered for this evening’s fixture.

The Premier League fixture schedule is ridiculous; two games in 48 hours was always going to be a test.

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Pogba played 45 minutes against Newcastle, having played 25 minutes against Watford days earlier.

The hope is now that Pogba will be available and rested to face Arsenal on New Year’s Day.

Given that he is coming back from a long term injury, we can understand the reluctance to over-use Pogba, but it is odd he is not even on the bench, especially with Scott McTominay out injured.

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Why play him against Newcastle?

This is the big part of the Pogba situation which does not make sense to us.

McTominay was injured, which stretched United’s midfield options, and Pogba was brought on with United 3-1 up at half-time.

Pogba did not need to play, United had other options.

For instance, Matic could have played the second half, or Andreas Pereira could have dropped back into central midfield, and Jesse Lingard or Juan Mata taken his place in attack.

United appear to have approached these fixtures with a plan in mind: save Matic for the Burnley fixture, give Pogba a few minutes against Newcastle and then start him against Arsenal.

We will see if it pans out that way, and if the decision not to deviate from that plan is costly.

Scott McTominay’s injury has thrown everything off and stretched United more than ever.

Fans want to see desire to play from Pogba, and his absence brings back all sorts of conspiracy theories over his absence ahead of the January transfer window.

A start, and a strong performance against Arsenal, will answer the questions arising from tonight.

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