Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has selected Paul Pogba in his Manchester United starting XI to face Manchester City at Old Trafford.
Pogba was benched as United crashed out of the Champions League with defeat to RB Leipzig in midweek, but has continued to dominate headlines after agent Mino Raiola revealed his desire to leave on Monday.
The World Cup winner starts in what appears to be a midfield diamond including Fred, Scott McTominay and the more advanced Bruno Fernandes.
Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford lead the line in a double-pronged with Anthony Martial among the substitutes and Edinson Cavani ruled out.
Pogba’s inclusion has elicited mixed reactions from United supporters.
Some feel the Frenchman disrespected the club in midweek by not reputing his agent’s comments on the eve of United’s biggest game of the season.
Silence is deafening and Pogba’s decision to stay quiet has confirmed his desire to leave Old Trafford.
But Pogba has made goal-scoring impacts in his last two outings against West Ham and RB Leipzig and he could prove the difference against Pep Guardiola’s men.
A game-winning performance today will make the negative talk in the build-up academic.
The Reds can move four points ahead of their city rivals this evening if Solskjaer completes his fourth triumph over Guardiola in two years.
See the line-up in full below, via the club’s official twitter:
💪 Up the Reds!
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 12, 2020
That #mufc lineup will also be playing quite narrow.
I’m already fearing the worse.
Starting Pogba also sends the wrong message to the rest of the squad. Imagine disrespecting the club and being rewarded with a Derby day start. Shocking. #MUNMCI
— Mack The Knife (@IdMjones) December 12, 2020
Pogba disrespects the club and Van De Beek is on the bench again. Terrible message sent by Ole
— Mark Goldbridge (@markgoldbridge) December 12, 2020
The diamond returns. 💎
McTominay – Pogba
Greenwood – Rashford
— JoshGI 🇾🇪 (@JoshGI97) December 12, 2020
Pogba plays! Looks like it could be a diamond which is interesting.
Off the ball a 433 with Bruno leading the press as a false 9.
No surprises Ole has opted for Shaw at LB.
— Haider Rubbani 🇾🇪🎙⚽️ (@Haider_Rubbani) December 12, 2020
Idk why Ole benched Pogba against Leipzig to prove a point but then starts him a few days later though
— Tom (@utdcynical) December 12, 2020
Diamond in midfield with Mctominay and Fred letting Pogba and Fernandes cause Havoc, Rashford and Greenwood's speed and quality on the counter.
I'm confident, never a good thing
— Trey (@UTDTrey) December 12, 2020
With KDB's presence on City's right along with someone like Mahrez, I'd much prefer to play Fred on the left, Pogba on the right and McTominay deeper. Though, our transitions are much more fluid if Pogba plays on the left so it is a trade-off.
— UtdArena (@utdarena) December 12, 2020
Bold statement from Ole starting Pogba…he's set his stall out now that he's not bothered…Now's not the time I just hope he and everyone plays well!!! Diamond settings again. Just want us to defend properly to give us a platform to play🤞🏾🤞🏾 COME ON!!!!
— 🔰 Flex 🔰 (@FlexUTD) December 12, 2020