Paul Pogba is ready to make his first start for Manchester United since last September after returning from injury.
There is understandably a lot of excitement about Pogba’s partnership with Bruno Fernandes.
The two have almost limitless potential together, but United will have to manage them carefully, especially considering Pogba’s battle with fitness over the past year.
So it is just as important what happens when they are apart, and rotation will mean there are games when only of them plays.
Best Fernandes replacement
Who is the best stand in for Bruno Fernandes in Manchester United’s current squad?
It’s not Jesse Lingard, it’s not Andreas Pereira, it might be Juan Mata. It could actually be Paul Pogba.
During his Manchester United career, a lot has been asked of Paul Pogba. He has been required at times to carry the midfield almost by himself.
Right now United have strong options, with Nemanja Matic, Fred, and Scott McTominay all hitting form before the break.
This means in a game in which Fernandes is rested, United could play a three man midfield with Paul Pogba at the point of attack, in the number 10 role supporting the forwards.
Pogba has the ability to thrive in this role. He is one of the Premier League’s most creative players.
In his limited appearances this season, Pogba has United’s best key pass per game average, with 2.3.
His average of 0.7 successful through balls per game is also the best in the United squad, and the entire Premier League.
It is a small sample size, from seven appearances, yet this succinctly highlights the qualities Pogba possesses, and how he can be a big asset to United in an attacking midfield role.
We are excited to see what Pogba and Fernandes can do together. As a pairing, they could rip teams apart.
But even when Fernandes is not available, United are now better set up for Pogba to succeed.
The Frenchman has a lot to prove over the upcoming weeks. If United let him loose, and free him from some of his defensive responsibilities which come from playing in a deeper role, we could really see him at his very best.
It’s just one of the many options available to Solskjaer over the upcoming weeks, and one he should try out.
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