Source: Paul Labile Pogba via Facebook
After 11 games, Manchester United are second in the Premier League table, having lost just once so far this season. In other years, their current record would stand the Red Devils in good stead to challenge for top spot but arch rivals and “noisy neighbours” Manchester City have been outstanding in 2017/18. Having lost 1-0 to Chelsea in their previous top-flight encounter, United now trail Pep Guardiola’s side by eight points, the largest deficit at this stage of a season in Premier League history.
United’s struggles in recent weeks cannot be attributed directly to Paul Pogba’s absence but the Red Devils are missing the young Frenchman – nobody would argue against that. At the start of the campaign, Mourinho’s men were playing with a cocky attitude and an added zip not seen at Old Trafford since Sir Alex Ferguson retired back in 2013. Pogba’s influence was a key reason for their early season form but United have struggled since losing the 24-year-old to injury against FC Basel in September.
— Sky Sports PL 👑 (@SkySportsPL) November 5, 2017
Losing Pogba was huge for the Red Devils and it could have a major impact on the destiny of the Premier League title. Comparatively, City would also struggle if Kevin de Bruyne – one of the leading names in early Player of the Year gossip – was ruled out for a prolonged spell. Pogba makes United tick and his ability to turn a match on its head gives the Red Devils a unique edge. You won’t find many players in world football who can do what Paul Pogba can do on the ball; he is a magnificent talent.
According to WhoScored, Pogba had scored two goals and recorded two assists in four top-flight games before going down injured and United fans will be ruing his latest setback. All of the early signs pointed to a genuine title challenge but City have been relentless and the Blues are showing no signs of slowing down. Getting Pogba back to full fitness will help the Red Devils in the long term and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, struggling badly for individual form at the present moment, will benefit directly from his return.
We’re not even halfway through the 2017/18 campaign yet and United are still very much in the mix to compete for the title. You don’t win titles in November and Mourinho knows that City will slip up at some stage. With a bit of luck on the injury front, United – priced at 14/1 for the crown in Premier League betting markets – could reduce the deficit in the coming months. Pogba’s presence alone helps to settle fans and the mood around Old Trafford will improve with the Frenchman nearing a comeback.
Some footballers are incredibly overrated these days but not Paul Pogba. The France star is a world-class talent and he could be the difference maker for United this season. Injuries are part and parcel of the sport but with a fully fit Pogba pulling the strings, the Red Devils will be confident of beating anyone. It is still early days and Jose Mourinho knows just how key Pogba could be in the second half of the campaign.