Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Who Can Fill Reds Void Left by Pog?

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Who Can Fill Reds Void Left by Pog?

Article excerpt

THE only positive aspect about Paul Pogba's lay-off is another international week is nearly upon us. The timing of the October games might be welcomed this year after Pogba was seen leaving Old Trafford on crutches on Tuesday night, but he could still miss up to eight United fixtures.

Four are at home and four are away. Liverpool at Anfield on October 14 is the standout match Pogba could be absent for and United might also be deprived of him for the trip to Benfica four days later. The most testing home game could be against Everton on Sunday.

Jose Mourinho was derided for describing Marouane Fellaini as Pogba's 'natural replacement' last season, but the Belgian is set to fill the Frenchman's void against his former club.

A goal, an assist and a man of the match award against Basel more than compensated for Pogba's 19th-minute withdrawal.

Fellaini proved himself as an impact substitute almost three years ago at West Brom and he has not disappointed off the bench yet this term. He was missed so much at Stoke, Mourinho singled him out at his post-match press conference.

Fellaini might require additional assistance against Everton on Sunday. "The next match you can have another surprise of some player you think is going to play and is not going to play," Mourinho teased in the Old Trafford press conference room.

Everton have, depending on your interpretation, started with four different formations in their four league games this season. Ronald Koeman abandoned the back-three experiment against Tottenham and they shipped as many goals as they had conceded in their previous three fixtures. It might return at another top six side.

Michael Keane, Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams could be shielded by Morgan Schneiderlin and Idrissa Gueye, as well as maybe Tom Davies.

Everton have already played at City and Chelsea this season and are winless since the opening weekend, so their visit to M16 has the makings of one of those pragmatic performances David Moyes often favoured at the old 'big four.' .

Everton's win over Moyes in December 2013 remains their only league victory at United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool this century.

Ander Herrera's importance was bound to increase this month and his squad omission in midweek should not diminish it. …

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