Manchester United play host to West Ham tonight, as both clubs go in search of maximum points to boost their Champions League push.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said in Friday’s press conference he would be without two of his big hitters – Paul Pogba and Donny Van De Beek.
It would be safe to say that this season, neither have been particularly influential, mustering just four goals between them all season and not a single assist.
In fact, Pogba has created just one big chance all season, while Van De Beek has none, which shows just how ineffective the duo have been this season.
It’s no secret that Solskjaer prefers a midfield of Scott McTominay and Fred, with Bruno Fernandes in front of them – which provides a solid base to build on going forward, allowing the freedom to his high-flying wide men.
In McTominay and Fred, Solskjaer knows that they’re a disciplined duo who will hold the fort in the middle of the park which allows his ‘flair’ players the freedom to get on the ball and dictate play.
Despite being labelled as a holding midfielder, McTominay has actually had a bigger influence on an attacking front than either Pogba and Van De Beek, netting four goals and setting up one, creating three big chances for his team mates in the process.
While it may be true that Van De Beek has found his chances limited at Old Trafford, he hasn’t shown enough in his time on the pitch, to justify a starting position in Solskjaers side – with the same going for Pogba.
It’s no secret that United struggle to break down sides who sit in and play a low block against them, which is undoubtedly what West Ham will do today in an attempt to frustrate United.
So you can see the appeal of having those attack minded players such as Van De Beek and Pogba in the line-up, but the stats simply tells us that they aren’t having a great enough impact on the team to start anyway.