Solskjaer identifies ideal Paul Pogba role ahead of Man Utd vs Arsenal

After an inconsistent start to the season, a change of formation has presented Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with the chance to catapult Manchester United up the Premier League table.

The Red Devils have been impressive in Europe, following up their win at Paris Saint-Germain with a dominant 5-0 victory over Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig on Wednesday.

Their domestic form, however, makes for less pleasant reading.

United have just two wins from their opening five league games and were held to a goalless draw by Chelsea last time out.

An area which continues to cause Solskjaer a selection headache is midfield, where he has struggled to find the right shape to suit the eclectic mix of players he has at his disposal.

He had also failed to find a system to suit midfield superstar Paul Pogba – but that changed when Leipzig came to Old Trafford.

Solskjaer chose to play a midfield diamond for the visit of the German club, with Nemanja Matic at the base, Donny van de Beek in the most advanced role, and Pogba and Fred between the two.

The formation worked to a tee, with Pogba afforded a free role in midfield thanks to the tireless work of Fred and the defensive positioning of Matic.

The Frenchman picked up the assist as Mason Greenwood opened the scoring, while Van de Beek also made good on his opportunity to stake his claim for further starts.

Which system should Solskjaer use to accomdate Manchester United's midfielders? Have your say here.

The midfield diamond solved a number of problems Solskjaer has faced with his recent 4-2-3-1 tinkering.

In the 6-1 thrashing by Tottenham earlier this month, the midfield pivot of Pogba and Matic was torn apart by Spurs' dynamism and pressing.

In response to his side's drubbing, Solskjaer rung the changes, with Scott McTominay and Fred introduced to the line-up.

This worked as United left it late to beat Newcastle 4-1, but against Chelsea the pairing lacked creativity.

As a duo they're solid, workmanlike and safe – but they lack invention when faced with a resolute opposition.

It seemed as though Solskjaer had to choose between defensive solidity and creativity, but the diamond presents the United boss with the best of both worlds.

32-year-old Matic – not the mobile enforcer he once was – was supported by Fred while Pogba was able to drift and influence the game on his terms.

The Frenchman is used to this role having played it to great effect at Juventus alongside the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio.

Solskjaer's change of system also benefited the attack, with Mason Greenwood shifted from the right to a more natural role alongside Anthony Martial as a centre-forward.

Both scored on the night, Marcus Rashford stepped from the bench to net a hat-trick, while there is also Edinson Cavani in return; with the nature of the current season, it allows for the necessary rotation in attack that will help keep the front men fresh.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have forged a strong defensive identity under manager Mikel Arteta, with summer signings Thomas Partey and Gabriel Magalhaes further bolstering the Gunners.

Though their forwards are yet to find their form this season, Solskjaer knows the threat the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – who scored in this fixture last season – pose.

The midfield diamond could hold the key to unlocking the Gunners while protecting against counter-attacks in Sunday afternoon's blockbuster clash.

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