Istanbul Basaksehir vs Man Utd Preview: Should Solskjaer bench out-of-form Pogba in the Champions League tie?

Part of United's struggle is attributed to the failures of Paul Pogba. And for a side that looks unbeatable in the Champions League, his form and game play were questioned when they lost to Arsenal

Istanbul Basaksehir vs Man Utd Preview: Should Solskjaer bench out-of-form Pogba in the Champions League tie?
Paul Pogba (Getty Images)
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Manchester United seems to have walked into an invisible force field on Sunday, November 2. While they seem absolutely clinical in the ongoing Champions League, winning both games against Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig, their Premier League run has seen them struggle to break into the top 10. Part of their struggle is attributed to the failures of Paul Pogba. And for a side that looks unbeatable when they played the German side last week, their game again Arsenal was abysmal.

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Pogba may have taken responsibility, but perhaps, it's time United look at their bench. "I'm in the box and I should not give a penalty away like that," Pogba told the BBC after the game. "Just let him take the ball and try to block the cross. Maybe I was a bit out of breath because I was running just before and that made me make this stupid mistake."

"I guess they are details. Details made us lose the game today and for sure I'll learn from that. I'm not the best defensively in the box and I have to work on this. We can always improve. I can always improve and do better." And while these are comforting words perhaps, they actually highlight how ineffective the side is in the Premier League.

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In Pogba's defense, he's tried to rectify the situation, but that has just made him garner headlines for the wrong reasons over the last couple of weeks. There was no doubt that he was sensational against Leipzig. His assist to Mason Greenwood from the left of the diamond was perfect. Against Arsenal, the brilliance seemed to be a thing of the past. ESPN's stats say he lost the ball 15 times and lost 12 duels of the 16.

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He struggled against Thomas Partey. But then Pogba has been under the scanner for quite some time now. What we can takeaway, and it is no secret, that this is a player who performs well with a set plan around him. 

It's hard to blame anyone at this juncture, but since Pogba's the man taking the heat, the idea would be to see how Ole Gunnar Solskjaer takes things forward. With a game against Istanbul Basaksehir looming, the question is will he bench Pogba on Wednesday, November 4, and against their upcoming EPL clash against Everton. Pogba was pretty much ineffective against the Gunners. There was no sense of retaliation once Aubameyang took the penalty successfully.

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Should we pay close attention, Pogba said he was out of breath. Now that might be a lingering fitness issue that may be the result of him being out for ten months in the last edition. Adding to this was that he tested positive for Covid-19. It does look like Frenchman could use a breather. Not just to recharge his batteries, but to also sit down with Solskjaer, the team to figure out a plan of action. Unless that discussion's happened already, Istanbul and Everton games will be paramount for Pogba to make a statement to his critics.

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Kick-off is slated for 12:55 pm ET on Wednesday, November 4. The game can be watched live on CBS.

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