If you’re a Manchester United fan, then you’ve gazed into the crystal ball of the future. If you’re allegiances lie elsewhere, then you’re looking at one of the toughest midfield partnerships your side could face up against.
However, whatever your stance, from a footballing perspective the pair are a going to be a sight to behold for quite some time. That is, of course, dependent on Paul Pogba’s future, but for now we’ll ignore that and glimpse at the workings of two unquestionably fine footballers.
Pogba ? Bruno
The pair start together for the first time! pic.twitter.com/k0bKgcnjoz
— 90min (@90min_Football) June 24, 2020
In terms of who would play further up the pitch, there wasn’t much discussion. Pogba has been played in the number ten role during his Red Devils career, but with Nemanja Matic as the anchor, he is allowed to operate in a box-to-box role – a role that better suits his skillset.
Fernandes’ defensive abilities are not on the same level as Pogba’s, and his position of drifting in between the lines is where he shines, so he was to play further up the park.
With the roles set, there still needed to be a connection between the pair. This was evidently noticeable just two minutes in when both players sprinted into the penalty box, but with Pogba staying further up the field, Fernandes tracked back.
Having only been at Old Trafford for such a short period of time, how Fernandes has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water is hugely commendable. His grasp of the English language could well have helped with that transition, but on the pitch his influence is unquestionable.
Bruno Fernandes swings in a corner for Manchester United
He’s infectious. Those around him all suddenly appear infinitely better, with his work rate, desire and general quality rubbing off on his teammates.
And Pogba is, well, only one of the most naturally gifted footballers of his generation and quite literally able to do absolutely anything he wants with a ball at his feet.
The fear that these two strike into opposition sides instantly causes unrest – which is exactly what happened on Wednesday evening.
The Blades didn’t know whether to stick or twist with Fernandes and Pogba, and any inkling of confusion will only allow them to express themselves further.
— United Zone (@ManUnitedZone_) June 24, 2020
However, don’t get the idea that these two need space in order to flourish. Their quality cannot be denied.
This was seen in the second goal, where neat trickery from Fernandes saw him take three Blades players out of the game on the edge of the box. He dodged some incoming challenges, found Pogba who laid off a simple, weighted pass to Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
It looked simple, but it was a perfect encapsulation of what these two can do. And also perfectly summed up their individual fortes.
Both can do much of what the other can, but Fernandes’ superb footwork and creativity, and Pogba’s exemplary passing stand out as each’s main attribute. While neither’s actions for the second goal were the best examples of their ability, it was a simplified version of what United fans can expect in abundance.
Paul Pogba celebrates with Anthony Martial
The second half was much less of a contest, with fatigue and United’s controlling of the ball limiting the Blades to precious little.
But nevertheless, Pogba and Fernandes still had the platform to showcase their alluring talents. Elegance on the ball, creative attacking movements and neat intricate give and go’s were there to be seen, even if the pace of the game had slowed considerably.
Who will dominate the headlines after the game? It’s tough to say to be honest. Probably should be Anthony Martial for his fine hat-trick, but if these two can build on the early signs of positivity they’ve shown, then they’ll be dominating them for the right reasons on numerous occasions to come.
Are these two good? Oh yes, you better believe it.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) June 24, 2020
Take Pogba’s mazy run in the second half – with nutmegs and roll-overs galore – as a timely reminder of just how talented this man is.
It looks set to be a long and fruitful relationship these two will have. The Premier League best be afraid.