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Only An Outstanding Matic Could Be The One Reason Pogba And Fernandes Can Play Together?

ghenerohansen 06/26/2020

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Aside Anthony Martial's hattrick heroics - the first in his Manchester United's career and the fact that Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba could combine each other's qualities to great effect , in the Red Devil's outstanding 3-0 victory over Chris Wilder's Sheffield United at Old Trafford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has got his work out, going forward from here on as he is faced with a looming problem of finding the right team balance for each game.

While watching the game closely last night from the comfort of my living room, there was - an individual performance that caught my eyes like one of those models, cat walking on the runaway could do, that I had to pinch myself in disbelief. Never I had I been impressed by an individual performance before as I did last night and for a player I often criticize and never really admired on the pitch of play in a United shirt, i was stunned.

Hours before kick off, every talk from the Manchester United perspective was centred around seeing just how well Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes would fare playing other as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer went with a midfield that included the aforementioned duo and Nemanja Matic and while the first two [Pogba and Fernandes] looked impressive, playing together for the first - with the Portuguese playing an advance role, it was the Serb - Nemanja Matic that stole the show.

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Yes, it was the hattrick hero, Anthony Martial that won the man of the match accolade and had his name written in headlines , Nemanja Matic could well have stolen the accolades if the Frenchman wasn't clinical and deadly on the night.

The Former Chelsea defensive midfielder covered every blade of grass, that I dare say that was his best [performance] for United since he left Antonio Conte's Chelsea a few years back. He operated at the base of United's midfield to full effect, being the shield for both Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof in the heart of the team's defense. His performance on the night also afforded the likes of Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, to do what they love to do, being the the creative outlet, the world was eager to see them do together.

He [Matic], whose United's career looked uncertainty at some point during the season and last, was that good, that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had nothing but praise - following the end of proceedings. The 1999 UEFA Champions League final hero said, ' Nemanja [Matic] is playing some of his best football I have to say. He's had a good pre-season for the first time in many, many years - today, he's dictating the game out there and his experience is vital for us'

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Having stressed the importance of Nemanja Matic to the side, it would be interesting to see if the Norwegian would settle for the midfield of Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic that looked promising, going forward and more importantly - against the bigger sides , for the singular reason of having the first two [Fernandes and Pogba] providing the necessary creative spark or going for a much cautious approach of having one of either Bruno Fernandes or Paul Pogba start in favour of playing two defensive midfielders - in which any two of Nemanja Matic, Fred Rodrgues and Scott McTominay would be called upon.

Only until recently, did the Serbia re-emerge from his slumber, holding down a spot [thanks to McTominay's long injury lay off as well as that of Pogba] but with Fred Rodrigues' increasing reputation in that defensive midfield role evident and the promise Scott McTominay is showing, here lies a problem for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at this junction.

Going forward and with his midfielders all fit including out of sorts Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard, how would he [Ole] go about the midfield selection - in a way in which the team's balance and structure wouldn't be affected?

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While the combo of Fernandes, Pogba and Matic caught the attention against Sheffield last night, it would be interesting to see if that could work against a well drilled attacking side were the aging but experienced Matic is the only defensive cover in front of Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof. Would he stick with the choice of playing two attack minded midfielders in Fernandes and Pogba - the Frenchman playing a deeper role and then having one natural defensive midfielder in place? Or play either one of the aforementioned duo and have any two of Matic , Fred and McTominay as defensive cover ?

Ole's best bet amid the choice crisis, would be setting up his team to effectively combat the strength of the opponent in front of his troop so as not to affect the team's balance in subsequent games. If he comes against a defensively organized set up like Jose Mourinho's type of teams, he should rightly go with a team that has Pogba and Fernandes in a place as every creative outlet would be needed but if they come up against team who are attacking by nature like Liverpool and Manchester City, there is the need to be a bit more cautious and conservative - with that means he would have to go for two defensive cover in midfield.

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Having said that and from what we saw last night from Nemanja Matic, he must be advised to keep the Serbian international in the side for now as he is clearly a man in form. Whether he goes with two pivots or one, Matic should keep his spot for as long as he put up such outstanding performance.

Nemanja Matic's Stats Against Sheffield

100% long pass accuracy

98% pass accuracy

8 ball recoveries

0 fouls

Source: opera.com
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