Pogba's return to play in League Cup put off while United chase a trophy

Paul Pogba last played for MUFC in the League Cup 3rd round match against Rochdale AFC in a side captained by Axel Tuanzebe. That match was won on penalties and Pogba being the designated penalty taker did not take one! James, Greenwood, Fred, Andreas and Mata converted all five spot kicks. After a prolonged absence Pogba was expected to return for today's fixture against Colchester instead he got ill after attending his brothers wedding.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was right to say that MUFC missed Pogba's creativity in the 1-1 draw with Everton last week after the euphoric victories over Man City and Tottenham Hotspur. The tone of the following three quotes from the Gaffer suggests MUFC want to hold on their most talented and bankable star who might be eyeing an route away from Old Trafford.

  • "Of all things he’s now struck down with illness and he’s been off for two or three days. That’s not beneficial and that’s probably set him back quite a bit."
  • As I’ve said so many times, Paul is a top player that we want to see playing his best football at Man United."
  • We just need to get him match fit."
End of the year return as earmarked by Solskjaer might now be in jeopardy. Might not be if but when Pogba leaves MUFC. Pogba has been subtle with his message to not hamper his lucrative contract unlike that irrevocable interview by Roy Keane against his team mates that sealed his fate. Will Solskjaer follow his Gaffer and sort out the midfield by raising funds via Pogba sale or wait till it reaches a point of no return by seeking a nod from the marketing team in charge of social media to make a decision? Consider a scenario where MUFC's impressive record against top 6 this season is coupled with Lukaku, Pogba in the squad against non-top 6 sides and easily the club might have been in top 4.

Manchester United will be facing Colchester United only for the third time in history. First was in the FA Cup 5th round in 1979 and second in League Cup in 1983 with MUFC winning both. MUFC reached the finals of the 1979 FA Cup losing to Arsenal after a stellar comeback late in the game that remains one of the best finals in last 40 years.

MUFC will field a changed XI with many youngsters who played against AZ Alkmaar likely to get the nod. Will Angel Gomes be one of them after his update on instagram removing all reference to MUFC? Angel Gomes beat the great Duncan Edwards record for being the youngest to debut for MUFC and his recent antics has angered fans who prefer him over Lingard, Mata and Andreas but clearly application seem to be lacking from the 19 year old. Chong meanwhile seem to have regained his form and place after impressive performances for U23's including the recent win over Reading.

Diego Dalot might return and seems like a natural winger on the right who can be developed as a backup for Daniel James who is more junior than him. Performance of Garner might decide the fate of Matic wanting to seek MUFC exit for the slow Italian league. Greenwood has now overtaken Martial's tally of goals and should start. Greenwood should be ahead of Erling Haaland should the proposed transfer becomes a reality and would put pressure on Martial to be more consistent. MUFC should be encouraged by the fact that James Maddison has not yet extended his contract with Leicester City and ideal to don the iconic No 7 jersey that is now vacant.

Probable squad: Romero (GK), Young(C), Tuanzebe, Maguire (C), Williams, Garner, Matic, Andreas, Mata, Chong, Greenwood.

This game comes just a day before the first year anniversary of Solskjaer's reign as MUFC manager. Critics have been selectively choosing his record interim vs permanent to draw blood overlooking the massive structural changes undertaken including bringing back Phelan from Ferguson backroom, removing the dead wood, signing three first team starters all of whom have been a success so far, promoting the youth from the academy in a big way,.. in short the "cultural reboot" to the traditions of this famous club.

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