This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
In what is a blow to Manchester United and their fans, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed that Paul Pogba is a doubt to face Arsenal on Monday.
The France international made his return to the starting line-up against Rochdale in the League Cup on Wednesday and although he played the whole 90 minutes, he was not selected to take a penalty in the shootout following a 1-1 draw.
Now, the Norwegian boss has confirmed he picked up an injury at Old Trafford, saying: “The situation is he finished the game. 90 minutes, fantastic but he got a knock to his ankle which is very swollen so was better not to go there with the team and he’s in a race for Monday.
“Doubt? Yes, but that’s just the way it is.”
In contrast to those in the Red Devils bubble, this would initially look like good news for Arsenal. Pogba, on his day, is one of the top players in world football, no matter what the critics say. He scored 16 goals and bagged 11 assists in all competitions last season, which only goes some way to explaining his influence on the northern outfit’s team at his best.
Against Arsenal, though, his performances are somewhat of a mixed bag. To date, he has made five appearances against the north London team, being on the winning side on two occasions, drawing twice, and losing once.
In terms of his goal contributions, he has netted once and provided two assists, which isn’t bad going. However, those latter two came in the same game as when Pogba was given a straight red card, which added a blemish to his performance.
His displays against the Emirates side are just a microcosm of the 26-year-old’s time in the Premier League: marred by inconsistencies. Whilst he has continually showed flashes of the huge potential he has always had, it has never been regular enough for him to move onto the next level and become a true superstar.
Unai Emery, then, should have mixed feelings about his potential absence. The former Sevilla boss would likely rather avoid the possibility of him putting in a game-changing display, but that is far from guaranteed with the former Juventus man.
He is just as capable of being a passenger or making the headlines for the wrong reasons, and he has a track record of doing that against the Gunners particularly.