No one could be happier about the return of the Premier League than Paul Pogba. Having been forced to sit on the sidelines for the majority of the season, no thanks to a string of injuries, the Frenchman is finally declared fit and ready to take to the pitch again.
Not for lack of interest, but the series of injuries that rocked his boat meant that he could only manage a couple of mid-season cameos before the game was sent on holidays.
Thankfully, the beautiful game is back, and along with it is a fully-fit Paul Pogba gearing to rip teams to shreds.
But wait a minute; are we forgetting the man who pulled the strings for United while Pogba was away? Oh, no we can’t! Although he’s only been around for a few months prior to the suspension of the league, Bruno Fernandes managed to ink his name in the hearts of every United’s faithful around the world.
Thanks to a series of mouthwatering displays, most of which returned a couple of goals and assists, Bruno Fernandes made the absence of Paul Pogba in United’s midfield less evident. But with Paul Pogba back, the question that has lingered on everyone’s lips is, “how will Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fit the Frenchman and Bruno into United’s starting line-up?
Will he play them side by side in a three-man midfield? Field Pogba in the base of the midfield and throw Bruno upfront? Or maybe he’s probably going to deploy them in a diamond formation?
Well, no one really knows what the Norwegian will do.
But while we wait to discover his line-up, here are three of the most effective ways we think the two magicians can work together.
Go the old-Pogba way
Remember how Paul Pogba used to play on the left of a three-man midfield back in Juventus (oh, what a sweet combination that was with Pirlo)? Well, Ole could strike the same balance in United’s midfield. Only that this time, he would have to trust Fred and Scott McTominay – a double pivot – to do all the defensive work in midfield .
In this system – a 4-2-3-1 setup – Bruno Fernandes would maintain his traditional no. 10 position, where he can coordinate attacks. To his left would be Paul Pogba, and to his right would be Daniel James. On paper, this would look like Pogba playing on the wing; but in reality, he would be allowed to make those outside-to-in runs, with the freedom to roam and threaten the goal.
Quite similar to how he operated in his breakout season at Juventus!
In this system, not only will Bruno retain his favorite position, but Paul would also get a chance to play in the position he’s always clamored for – receiving the ball in space, facing the goal, and cutting onto his favorite right-foot.
What about a full-blown attacking dynamism? Considering United is currently spoilt with attacking options across the midfield and attack, it would make so much sense to deploy all at once, especially against weaker oppositions.
In what would look like a 4-1-2-3 setup, United could play with a single pivot of Matic/McTominay/Fred and then throw Pogba and Fernandes ahead of the pivot side-by-side. In this system, both players will share the playing duties with their perceptive and incisive passes. And if need be, they can put in a shift in defense to assist the pivot. Since they both have a knack for tackling, that shouldn’t pose a challenge.
What happens in the big game?
Of course, Man United will not only play against weaker oppositions all season long. There will be times when they have to play against the stronger ones too. And during these times, there will be a need to adjust their setup to counter the threats they face.
As Ole has so often done this season, United reverts back into a 3-5-2 setup, whenever they’re playing against stronger opponents, to topple the treats of their opponents and still pose a considerable attacking threat themselves.
But where do Pogba and Fernandes fit into this defense-conscious system?
Well, Fernandes retains a role in attack next to Martial. With the Frenchman providing direct threat, Fernandes is free to push into the box and score but also function as a link-man for midfield.
That link will be crucial. Fernandes’ ability to play first-time passes and flicks into space releasing a running team-mate will become so deadly when that team-mate is Pogba. The Frenchman would play initially as one of the midfield three, but just as he did at Juventus, he would have a license to drive forward into space.
With United sitting deep and absorbing pressure, Pogba‘s ability to explode from deep with the ball at his feet would make United’s counter-attacking level up a couple notches.
Pogba‘s outlet passes would find Fernandes, who would obviously draw pressure and then release it back to Pogba, who by now is in full stride in the open field, and you have to remember that Pogba is basically like the Dothraki: you can’t beat him in the open field. So United’s big-game ballista would somehow become even deadlier.
It really is an exciting time to be a Man United fan. With so many attacking threats at the manager’s disposal, we can only hope that we get the best combination that is right for each game. For fans who love to bet on Mazda Race Bong 88, you can expect to find lots of winning bets from Man United in the coming weeks.