Paul Pogba is set to miss between four and six weeks of action with a hamstring injury suffered in Tuesday’s Champions League win. Once Pogba pulled up clutching his hamstring after no apparent contact after just 19 minutes yesterday, there were worried groans everywhere. If this latest report is accurate, those fears were well placed. United’s most influential player - and, on yesterday’s evidence, de facto vice-captain - will miss potentially 7 or 8 matches for club and country.
As well as France’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers in October, Pogba will likely be absent for league games against Everton, Southampton and Crystal Palace, next Wednesday's League Cup third-round tie with Burton and the Champions League trip to CSKA Moscow. He also faces a race to be fit in time for the trip to Anfield to face Liverpool on October 14th.
When Pogba suffered a similar hamstring strain last season, United’s midfield became a black hole of creativity. With Nemanja Matić now in the team, depth in midfield is less of an issue this time around, and theoretically Ander Herrera should be free to take up a more attacking brief. Marouane Fellaini, as limited as he is, is starting to show that he can trusted to deputize for Pogba, at least against lesser opposition. Scott McTominay has not looked out of place in the first team, as possesses the technique to be a goal threat from midfield. Whether those options will be enough to cover for the Frenchman’s absence remains to be seen.
The decision to allow Andreas Pereira - perhaps the only other creative central midfielder in the squad - to leave on loan looks even more ill-advised. In any case, United now face a genuine challenge to keep up their pace in the league without their talisman.