Successive 4-0 routs of West Ham United and Swansea City suggest that the spirit of attacking football looks to have finally returned to the Theatre of Dreams. Strengthened by the summer signings of Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United’s attacking output has generated a huge amount of buzz throughout the league and fantasy football.
In this Manchester United midfield conundrum, we dig into the performances of two in-vogue midfield assets- Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan- with a view to tease out the optimal Fantasy prospect. Who should you pick from the Man United midfield?
by Nekzad Bajan
Two gameweeks into the season, Pogba and Mkhitaryan currently occupy first and second place respectively for midfielders in FPL. Pogba followed up his 8-point opener with a destructive 15-point performance in Gameweek 2, whereas Mkhitaryan gave consistent returns of 10 and 11 points over the first two gameweeks. However, even though the total points are close to similar, the manner in which the two have produced their respective points is different.
Paul Pogba has started the 2017/18 season with a bang – Image via businessinsider.fr
The presence of Nemanja Matic has undoubtedly unleashed Pogba’s attacking talents. However, when we look even closer, there is another individual key to Pogba’s recent boom. In his last game, Pogba cut a frustrated figure at times and walked a disciplinary tightrope in the first half. But later on, with the addition of Marouane Fellaini and Anthony Martial, United simply started easing through the gears and tore the Swans asunder, with Pogba benefiting the most.
United have now scored eight goals over just two matches, with six of those arriving after the 75th minute with Fellaini on the pitch. When the Belgian arrives, Pogba appears unshackled to run at tired legs and create devastation. Notably, the only points Pogba earned without Fellaini on the pitch up till now was the assist for Bailly’s opening goal against the Swans’. We also still need to consider that, to this point, the influence of Matic has probably not been as significant as billed. It is only when Mourinho has reinforced his midfield further that Pogba has proved unstoppable.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is loving life in this attacking Man Utd team – Image via esquire.co.uk
On the other hand, Mkhitaryan grabbed another two assists without matching Pogba’s impact or taking control of the game. He is clearly the creator to Pogba’s destroyer. With Mkhitaryan playing in the centre now, unlike the right flank last season, he is definitely bound to get more chances of providing key passes as well as assists. He plays further up the field but Pogba has a lot more shots in the box.
Bonus Points is another thing that gives an edge to the Armenian over the Frenchman. Mkhitaryan’s style of play does really well in the BPS that determines the bonus points awarded. He has completed 90% of his passes made and also made nine key passes while Pogba could just manage five. His ability to do layoffs and cut inside as well as providing with perfect through balls, make him a perfect attacking playmaker. With all of the above characteristics of the Armenian, he definitely is a powerful Fantasy asset this campaign playing a major role in the power-packed United side.
Pogba is transforming match after match and soon he could prove untameable for opposing defences. But perhaps, we need to show some caution considering the Fellaini factor. The clash with Leicester City in Gameweek 3 will provide a sterner test which may slow down the United and Pogba juggernaut. As a result, by a very close range, I would pick Mkhitaryan over Pogba because of his overall play-making role and down the centre position. With Lukaku ahead of him, he can slice down his juicy through balls as he always does, for the Belgian to finish off with a bang.
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