Paul Pogba is a doubt for Manchester United’s match against Arsenal, giving beleaguered manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a fresh headache as he juggles his scant attacking resources.
The France midfielder hurt his ankle again in the League Cup match with Rochdale in midweek on his return to the side after not playing since late August.
Pogba played the whole game as United edged past the League One team on penalties after a 1-1 draw but he did not take a penalty and did not attend a team bonding dinner at Juan Mata’s restaurant after the game.
Solskjaer revealed on Friday that his ankle knock was the reason he did not join his teammates.
“The situation is Paul finished the game, 90 minutes fantastically, but he got a knock to his ankle which is very swollen,” said Solskjaer.
“So it was better for him not to go there with the team and he’s in a race for Monday. He is a doubt, but that is the way it is.”
Forwards Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are also facing a battle to be fit for Monday’s game at Old Trafford, with Solskjaer short of attacking options.
Martial is still trying to recover from a thigh injury sustained last month while Rashford limped off with a groin problem in the 2-0 defeat at West Ham on Sunday.
If neither of those two makes it, Mason Greenwood will be in line to start his first Premier League game.
The 17-year-old has scored in each of United’s past two home games, against Astana in the Europa League and then against Rochdale, so his manager would have no qualms about throwing him in against the Gunners.
“Mason has proven that when he is in the box, he’s dangerous,” said the Norwegian. “What has pleased me about him is that he doesn’t turn down chances to finish.
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“We have managed him as you can’t just throw him in the deep end all the time. But he has proved in those games he is ready for it.”
United are currently languishing in eighth spot in the Premier League with eight points from their six matches and only one league win in the past five.
It is not the start that United fans were hoping for, but Solskjaer said the team were making progress.
“I never said it was going to be easy this season,” he said. “There are going to be bumps in the road, highs and lows. But when we lose a game, we have to trust ourselves and what we are doing.
“We have to keep our eyes on the prize and the principles we believe in. It is a team that is evolving and improving. There are no issues with the attitude, the work rate, the desire.
“You can see the boys want to impress, and want to do well.”