How Manchester United should line up to best utilize Pogba and Sanchez
Manchester United have spent a lot of money on the purchases of Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba, in terms of both transfer fees and wages. In the current system that Jose Mourinho has deployed at Manchester United, both Sanchez and Pogba have found it hard to get any sort of rhythm going.
The main reason why they are not able to perform better is because of their positions in the system. They both are attack-minded players, but Mourinho's current style of play limits their attacking prowess. This is how they should line up instead:
How they should line up
The defence is the usual lineup. Only changes being Eric Bailly being drafted in the squad after coming back from injury, and Ashley Young being dropped for Luke Shaw as the young Englishman has earned his right to be in the squad.
Shaw is a natural defender and a very good attacker and it will do Jose Mourinho a whole lot of good if he can get Sanchez and Shaw to combine on the left and get some sort of understanding going between the two.
In the games that Shaw has started, he has shown good quality defensively and Manchester United need a stable left-back to hold the defence.
Most of the times, Young gets caught up in attack and that left-back area is left open for the counter-attack. Shaw has done effectively in tracking back and breaking up the counter attacks, which was very evident in the recent game against Huddersfield in the FA Cup.
The Midfield is being converted to a three-man fortress instead of a two-man midfield. With both Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic taking care of defensive duties, Pogba, in turn, will be allowed Pogba to have a free role.
In every team, there are players who get the free role like that of Christian Eriksen at Tottenham and at Manchester United, it surely should be Pogba.
With the Frenchman's wide range of passing skills (including his Scholes like long-range passing) and his immense quality on the ball, he surely has won the right to be in the free role under Mourinho. The Portuguese boss should allow Pogba to let loose and express himself if the Red Devils have to be successful in the long term.
Pogba was at his best when he played in a three-man midfield, mostly during his time at Juventus. He had Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal to accompany him in midfield and he flourished immensely, as he did not care about his defensive duties and was always involved in every attack with Carlos Tevez and company.
It was then that he impressed and gained the world's attention, before subsequently earning his $89 million move to Old Trafford.
Manchester United's attack is completed with the prolific Romelu Lukaku as the striker, Jesse Lingard as the right winger and Alexis Sanchez on the left. Jesse Lingard or Anthony Martial could play on the right.
While the debate still exists on whether Martial should play on the left or right, he is equally effective either way, as he got into good positions against Newcastle and even got two good chances which he failed to capitalise on.
Here is how the formation will change when Manchester United are attacking:
Alexis Sanchez will move to a more central role and support Lukaku in attack. Pogba will take over on the left side and weave his magic. In the case of anyone being dispossessed, Manchester United will have enough protection for the opposition's counter with Herrera, Matic, Bailly and Chris Smalling standing in defence.
With Shaw and Antonio Valencia going forward effectively, it will help Sanchez and Lukaku get more chances for them to convert. In this style, you have Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba, both playing in the positions which enabled them to reach their full potential at Arsenal and Juventus respectively.