Playing Paul Pogba in the number 10 role will only add to Manchester United’s talented attack and it is something we need to now see over a sustained run.
Pogba has missed the last nine matches for United but stepped up his return to fitness when the cast on his injured right ankle was removed on Monday.
The Frenchman last featured in our 1-1 draw against Arsenal on September 30th.
In the nine matches Pogba has been absent, United have endured some topsy-turvy results and performances.
Solskjaer’s side won 5 of those games, but we also suffered un-inspiring defeats away to Newcastle and Bournemouth where a fit and firing Pogba could have proved the difference.
ESPN are reporting that the derby against City on December 7th could be a possible return date for the midfielder.
The dilemma for Solskjaer will be where to play United’s talisman.
What has changed since Pogba’s last appearance?
Pogba’s best run of form in a United shirt came when Solskjaer took the reigns last season as a caretaker manager.
The Norwegian lifted the doom and gloom, which became toxic under Jose Mourinho and released Pogba from the shackles he was experiencing under the Portuguese coach.
With the former Juventus man knowing that he had Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera behind him, he was given a free role and the opportunity to go and stamp his authority on matches.
However, following the departure of Herrera and no replacements signed, Pogba started this season being deployed in a deeper role alongside the emerging Scott McTominay.
The injury to Pogba presented Fred with the opportunity to show Solskjaer that he could become a vital part of the team.
Since a spineless display against Newcastle before the October international break, United’s performances and Fred’s especially apart from a collective no show against Bournemouth have continued to go in an upward trajectory.
The Brazilian’s blossoming partnership with McTominay could mean that Solskjaer can unleash Pogba in the number 10 role and know that he has a trusted energetic duo behind the club’s number 6.
United’s new midfield combination possess the ability and balance to offer plenty of protection to United’s backline whilst also distributing the ball forward to United’s match winners in dangerous areas.
However, a lot may depend on the severity of McTominay’s injury and Sky Sports report his return date is unclear.
The worst case scenario for Solskjaer would be that the young Scot is ruled out for a couple of months and Pogba’s return results in him playing in a defensive midfield position once more.
It is clear that the World Cup winner doesn’t particularly relish carrying out his defensive duties and the absence of McTominay could have a massive impact on Fred’s performances.
What would Pogba bring as a number 10?
The best case scenario is that McTominay’s injury heals during the international break and he is fit to start against Sheffield United.
If McTominay and Fred are both fit when Pogba returns it would seem a no brainer to put United’s most creative player in the number 10 role.
In Dan James, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, Solskjaer has a talented forward line that can rip teams apart, they just need to be unleashed and provided with ammunition on a regular basis.
Step forward Paul Pogba, the Frenchman has the pace, power, vision and guile to make United’s talented trio a formidable front four.
He showcased his passing ability in the first game of the season against Chelsea, playing in the quarter back role, he produced a pin point pass for Rashford, who made one of those darting inside runs off the left wing.
In the second game of the season, it was Pogba’s athleticism and dribbling skills that won the penalty he went onto miss, but his direct driving runs put Wolves on the back foot, they didn’t know how to stop him.
Having Pogba in the number 10 role could also benefit United’s defence, there are occasions in matches where he gets caught in possession too easily in dangerous areas, and opposing teams are presented with a counter attacking opportunity with our full backs high up the pitch.
Is there a case for Andreas Pereira to continue?
Pereira’s best performance this season came against Liverpool, but it was the Brazilian’s pressing, hassling and work rate, which shined against our fierce rivals instead of his ability to carve out goalscoring chances.
United’s number 15 has benefitted from the absence of Pogba and the lack of quality Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata have produced when given a chance.
Pereira scored his first goal of the season against Brighton, but there were occasions where he chose the wrong pass or he held onto the ball for too long, his decision making at times can prove his undoing.
Against Bournemouth he was non-existent, it was a game where he and United were given no space and that has been our pitfall this season.
There is no denying off the ball, Pereira is going to put in more of a shift then Pogba and that could be something for Solskjaer to consider in the bigger games where United don’t have as much off the ball.
But if United are going to have any chance of reducing the gap to the top four, we need to find a solution to breaking teams down who sit in a compact shape and neutralise our counter attacking threat.
This is where having Pogba in the number 10 role could prove to be the gamechanger, he brings a physical presence, he can score long-range goals and possesses an aerial threat.
The Frenchman forces defenders into committing, go too tight he will role you, stand off and give him too much time he can have a shot or showcase his passing range.
Unlike Pereira who still needs to learn to add that killer ball or final product to his repertoire, Pogba already has that it in his locker.
United are showing signs of improving, the return of Pogba could continue our renaissance.
Deploying Pogba in the number 10 role and adding him to a forward line, which is starting to flourish will only aid United’s quest to regain the fear factor.
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