Manchester United once had an extremely strong midfield with the likes of Roy Keane and Paul Scholes dominating proceedings. Even a few years ago, the likes of Michael Carrick offered a strong presence. In the last couple of years, though, the team has regressed so much in this area that managers have been forced to play the likes of Wayne Rooney in this position. Since the arrival of Jose Mourinho, four new names have arrived at Old Trafford with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba strengthening the midfield.
At a combined cost of £119 million, they have strengthened the midfield immensely as expected. As Mourinho infuses confidence back into the existing midfielders like Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini, United seem extremely strong all of a sudden. The strength also poses a problem when it comes to team selection. In the opening game against Bournemouth, Herrera and Fellaini were the two central midfielders, but this was a decision taken due to the unavailability of Pogba. The Frenchman made his debut against Southampton in a 2-0 win. Does Mourinho opt for Pogba-Fellaini or Pogba-Herrera combination? It is a predicament that most managers would like to have.
Pogba – Fellaini
Most opposition will fear at the prospect of facing Fellaini and Pogba at the same time. Both are extremely physical players with the ability to win almost every aerial duel. Their prowess in the air gives United a big advantage when it comes to set pieces. Since the Red Devils seem to have regained the former confidence, opposition teams are likely to sit back and defend deep. Set pieces and crosses will be a key route through which United can find a way past the sea of players. Fellaini, though, will not provide the grace and vision required for such a role.
Pogba – Herrera
Ander Herrera has had a tough time in the last two years, as he has been unable to find any sort of consistency. After a reasonably successful debut campaign in which he scored six goals and created four assists, Herrera has nowhere been the same. Last season, he came up with just three goals and two assists in 27 league appearances. Under Mourinho, though, he has been deployed as a deep lying playmaker. It is a position that could complement Pogba extremely well. Although it would leave United exposed in a counter-attacking situation since Herrera is not known for his defensive attributes, it may be the best combination.