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4 ways Manchester United could line up with Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba 

  • A look at how Manchester United could possibly lineup with Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes.
  • When football eventually returns, United will have a stacked up midfield.
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
Modified 24 Mar 2020, 10:54 IST

Bruno Fernandes
Bruno Fernandes

Football has currently taken a backseat owing to the danger posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19). All European leagues have been suspended as a precaution against the spread of the disease, with the rest of the Premier League fixtures postponed until at least April 30.

With no football planned for the near future, we are now going to talk about Manchester United and how they might be shaping up when the Premier League eventually returns.

Since the Red Devils lost 2-0 to Burnley in the Premier League on January 23, they have been on an undefeated run, which stretched to 11 games after they won 5-0 against LASK in the first leg of their Round of 16 fixture in the Europa League. Unfortunately, that turned out to be United's last game before football was suspended.

Before the suspension though, Paul Pogba - who has been struggling with an ankle injury for months - was on the brink of a return to the first team. It would, therefore, not be an overstatement to say that the Frenchman will likely be ready for first-team action, once all football leagues and tournaments return to our TV screens.

Pogba will be teaming up with United's biggest January signing Bruno Fernandes upon his return and in this article, we take a look at four ways the Red Devils could line up with the two midfieders when football resumes.


#4 In a 3-4-1-2 formation

Pogba and Fernandes in a 3-4-1-2 formation
Pogba and Fernandes in a 3-4-1-2 formation

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had deployed Manchester United in a 3-4-1-2 formation against the bigger teams this season and the Red Devils have been quite impressive in adapting to the set-up.

Similar to a 4-2-3-1 or a 3-4-1-2, the formation has a number 10 position which Fernandes can occupy, while Pogba can slot in alongside a ball-winning midfielder in a double-pivot.

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This is one of the few ways Solskjaer might line up with Pogba and Fernandes against the top six sides as it allows defensive stability along with some attacking threat.


#3 In a 4-2-3-1 formation

Pogba and Fernandes in a 4-2-3-1 formation
Pogba and Fernandes in a 4-2-3-1 formation

The 4-2-3-1 formation is a set-up that Manchester United have usually played under Solskjaer and when Pogba comes back, we could see him slot in alongside either Nemanja Matic or Scott McTominay in a double-pivot as was the case before he got injured.

Meanwhile, Fernandes is more suited to be a number 10 than Pogba, so don't be surprised if the former is given more attacking freedom than the latter. While Pogba will venture forward now and again, don't expect him to be in and around the opposition's penalty area too often.


#2 In a 4-3-3 formation

Pogba and Fernandes in a 4-3-3 formation
Pogba and Fernandes in a 4-3-3 formation

We could also see Manchester United lineup in a 4-3-3 formation, which is similar to the set-up Pep Guardiola generally deploys at Manchester City. Matic or McTominay could play as the defensive midfielder, while Pogba and Fernandes can act as the two number eights.

This formation can be deployed against low blocks as Pogba and Fernandes are not only capable of adding goals from midfield, but they can also create some good opportunities for the forwards.


#1 In a 4-4-2 diamond formation

Pogba and Fernandes in a 4-4-2 diamond formation
Pogba and Fernandes in a 4-4-2 diamond formation

The 4-4-2 diamond formation is the set-up that gave Solskjaer huge success during his days as the caretaker manager at Old Trafford. This formation not only allows Manchester United to have a two-striker system but it also enables them to play Fred, Fernandes, and Pogba in one midfield.

While Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford can lineup as centre-forwards, Matic or McTominay, Fred, and Pogba can play in a midfield three, with Fernandes on the tip of the diamond.

If Solskjaer indeed goes forward with this formation, expect United to have tremendous control over possession play due to the quality in their midfield and they would also retain the threat on the counter due to the pace of Rashford and Martial.

When Premier League officially returns, this is a formation that one can see United going with for the rest of the season.


Published 24 Mar 2020, 10:54 IST
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