At the start of the season many people suggested that the Premier League title was extremely likely to end up in Manchester. One of the key reasons for this is the amount of money that both clubs have spent over recent times in order to gain the edge on their rivals. The biggest acquisition for Manchester United has been Paul Pogba, and after making a bright start to his second season back at Old Trafford he picked up an injury; but do Manchester United miss him?
First of all, to win the Premier League you must have strength in depth. It’s not just about the first XI, it’s about every player in the squad being able to contribute over the course of the campaign. Having said that, Pogba is one of the best midfielders in the world and you’d expect any side to miss him if he was absent. So far, the Frenchman has been out for 3 Premier League games but Manchester United did win all 3 fixtures, berating Everton and Crystal Palace 4-0, with a 1-0 win over Southampton sandwiched in between.
So on that evidence, you could say that United and Mourinho maybe don’t miss him as much as people would have expected. In the 4 league games he has been involved in Pogba had hit 2 goals while also assisting 2, so you can certainly see how effective he has been so far this season but Manchester United have been winning games in his absence so do they really miss him at all?
Looking at how Manchester United have played this season compared to last, they seem a lot more expressive and Pogba has been allowed to play further forward due to the arrival of Nemanja Matic from Chelsea. He’s much more of an influence in the final third, especially linking up with close friend Romelu Lukaku, so you can definitely see, based on his stats so far, that he is a miss, regardless of results. For example, in the game against Southampton, United just didn’t seem to be on top of their game but someone like Pogba has the ability to take control and drive his team forward.
Another telling factor, according to the bookmaker Sportingbet football analyst, is that in their next 4 games they face Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea. Spurs and Chelsea in particular are key fixtures and both sides like to get the ball down and play through midfield. It would be very interesting to see whether United could win these high profile and important fixtures without Pogba or whether they would come up short. It’s ok being able to beat teams drastically out of form but coming up against the big boys, without one of their key me, will be a real test of United’s abilities. As good as Maroune Fellaini has been as a stand in, you’d certainly expect Pogba to waltz back into the side when he’s back fully fit.