With Marouane Fellaini likely to miss the Manchester derby through injury it leaves Jose Mourinho with a selection dilemma in the centre of midfield when the blues come to Old Trafford on September 10th.
The Portuguese had named the Belgian alongside Pogba in each of United’s opening three league fixtures against Bournemouth, Southampton and Hull City.
With Mourinho opting for his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation thus far it has made the central midfield area ever more so important. Mourinho needed one of the duo to do the dirty work winning tackles and helping out the defence whilst the other one to express themselves going forward and in Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini he had seemed to find the perfect mix.
However Fellaini’s absence from the side will now arguably give Jose Mourinho his biggest challenge yet as Manchester United manager. In the games so far it has been pretty much straight forward in terms of naming his starting eleven, now though things have changed and the Belgian won’t be there.
Mourinho has undoubtedly a number of options to choose from to replace the Belgian in Morgan Schneilderlin, Michael Carrick and Timothy Fosu-Mensah who can all play that midfield role but it remains to be seen who he indeed does choose to start.
Arguably the favourite to play alongside Pogba will be Morgan Schneiderlin. Having yet to start a game for his new boss the Frenchman will no doubt be looking to make an immediate impact and should he be given the opportunity to play against City it will be a chance he will be looking to take with both hands. Schneiderlin would give Pogba that freedom in the middle of the park for him to express himself whilst he does the defensive duties and wins the ball off the opposition.
Michael Carrick is of course another option Mourinho will undoubtedly be looking at. Carrick may be heading towards the latter stages of his footballing career but is still a valuable member of the Manchester United side. His long range passing and reading of the game remains one of the finest around with City’s defence not looking to solid Carrick’s decisive passing could prove to be essential. Having a player like Carrick alongside you can only be beneficial for the Pogba.
Despite not featuring for Mourinho thus far Timothy Fosu-Mensah remains another valuable option for the Portuguese. The 18-year-old is widely regarded to be one of the clubs highest rated prospects for the future. Whilst also been able to play at a variety of different positions across the back four the youngster’s favoured position is said to be in central midfield. His empowering movement on the ball combined with his excellent all round awareness of the game makes him a special player and one which Pogba could relish playing alongside.
With Fellaini out it remains to be seen who Mourinho does indeed play alongside Pogba when United meet City at Old Trafford. On paper it makes sense to go with the more experienced option in Morgan Schneiderlin, however you cannot help but feel that there is just something about Timothy Fosu-Mensah playing in the middle of the park alongside Pogba that feels so right. Both see made for each other and should the new united boss choose to start the Dutchman against City he could become Mourinho’s first choice central midfield partnership for not only this season but for seasons to come.