Man United welcome Newcastle on Boxing Day desperate to make amends for the Watford debacle and here are five things to look out for at Old Trafford.
Two years ago, United were reeling from a lengthy Paul Pogba absence and he returned to inspire them to victory against Newcastle at Old Trafford.
Pogba was so totemic at the time Jose Mourinho accepted United were a completely different entity without him and it was not disingenuous to regard them as a one-man team.
That Pogba has not been as missed as severely as he was in 2017 is as much a reflection of the United hierarchy’s complacency as it is Pogba’s mercurial talents.
His return is well-timed in that Everton and Watford exposed the limitations of Scott McTominay and Fred, who might now have to accommodate the more gifted Pogba as he prepares for his recall.
That Pogba will start is as certain as rain in Manchester, but it remains to be seen whether Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will recall him at the expense of one of the midfielders.
McTominay and Fred looked bereft in the last two league fixtures but have banked enough credits to line up with Pogba.
Especially since they are worthier starters than the three purported playmakers Solskjaer has to choose from.
Whether it is a midfield axis or triumvirate, Pogba showed at Watford how influential he can be if given free rein and he might have to become their midfield and playmaker ‘signings’ until May.
After refusing to make changes at Vicarage Road, some supporters might think Solskjaer cannot make enough today.
Retaining the same back four would be illogical and there are two fit and available replacements for Luke Shaw.