Former Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole believes Paul Pogba’s absence could enhance Manchester United’s chances of beating Manchester City in Sunday’s Premier League showdown.
The France international is currently serving a three-man ban after he was adjudged to have made a rash tackle on Hector Bellerin during last weekend’s 3-1 win over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
As a result, Jose Mourinho faces the prospect of playing Ander Herrera alongside Nemanja Matic in central midfield with Marouane Fellaini likely to have a late fitness test to determine his participation in the derby.
Speaking on Sky Sports h/t Metro, Cole feels Pogba’s absence could be advantageous to United despite his fine form during the current campaign.
Unlike Pogba, Herrera likes to sit at the heart of the midfield and the 36-year-old insists that the Spaniard could find the through-ball for the likes of Romelu Lukaku to pounce.
“As crazy as it sounds, it may help Manchester United. Pogba likes to vacate midfield and go and support the striker. I can see Manchester United scoring by winning a second ball with [Ander] Herrera and a direct pass to the striker. Man City will concede space in behind. It might thicken the midfield up and let them [United] win second balls.”
United are currently eight points behind table-toppers City, and Mourinho could potentially set his side up to defend initially with the Citizens posing a significant threat with the attacking side of their game.
Vincent Kompany is an injury doubt for the visitors, and his potential absence could benefit United as Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi have tended to struggle when paired together for City.