Explained: Why Pogba’s Absence Is Good For United vs City

Paul Pogba is shown a red card by referee Andre Marriner.

Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

When Andre Marriner drew the red card from his pocket to send off United superstar Paul Pogba during his side’s clash against Arsenal, many fans went into a state of meltdown after realising the booking would rule him out for the Manchester derby.

However, former Premier League stars Joe Cole and Owen Hargreaves firmly believe that Jose Mourinho’s side would not be missing the talented Frenchman.

The pair claims that Pogba’s absence may turn out to be helpful for the Red Devils, who, according to them, have resources to make up for it.

Cole, whilst talking to Sky Sports, suggested that Mourinho could set his team up to dominate the Sky Blues with a different midfield mechanism.

“As crazy as it sounds, it may help Man United,” said the former West Ham man. “Pogba likes to vacate midfield and go and support the striker.

“I can see Man United scoring by winning a second ball with Herrera and a direct pass to the striker. Man City will concede space in behind. It might thicken the midfield up and let them [United] win second balls.”

On the other hand, Hargreaves told BBC Radio 5 that the French international’s suspension could serve as a blessing in disguise, and added that the duo of Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera are well capable of getting the job done.

“I don’t think Nemanja Matic or Herrera get enough credit for how good they are in terms of possession and their passing of the ball,” said the ex-United star.

“Herrera is very good in terms of assists and Matic was great at assists at Chelsea. They’re both very capable.

“Probably the weakest part of Pogba’s game is his defending. His passing of the ball and control of the game is very good. In a one off game, as much as Pogba is irreplaceable to this team, Mourinho won’t mind having someone more defensive minded. They will be outnumbered in midfield.”

When two very experienced players agree on something without even a discussion, it might actually be true. Nevertheless, Pep Guardiola’s side are a whopping 8 points ahead the Old Trafford outfit, and Mourinho will be keen on cutting that figure down to 5.


Written by Ashish Sreejith  

Have had two addictions in life- playing football and watching football. Usually described as introverted but not when it comes to speaking and writing about the beautiful game of football.


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