Manchester United and Chelsea’s chances of a top-four Premier League finish will depend largely on Paul Pogba or Eden Hazard inspirational their faltering sides across the end line.
French midfielder Pogba and Belgian captain Hazard will line up on different sides on Sunday since the United attempt to detain a streak of seven defeats in nine matches.
Fourth-place Chelsea, three points ahead of United in the sixth, can realistically finish the Red Devils’ probability of Champions League football next season but has to end their particular run of seven straight off league beats to high six resistance to achieve that.
But if Pogba and Hazard will probably be about next season regardless of their clubs’ destiny in the next 3 matches is quite much in doubt.
Both could be teammates following year with speculation linking with a move to Real Madrid. Both have lent their admiration for Real boss Zinedine Zidane and publicly flirted with the concept of a move to the Spanish giants.
Eleven years from contesting the Champions League final, the possibility of losing their landmark talent is an indication of the times for both clubs.
Defeat to Manchester City in midweek saw United fall 25 points behind the league leaders.
“That is the reality we are in. We’re now around where we’ve been the last five seasons and that is not good enough,” said United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Friday.
Pogba was the only player not from City or title challengers Liverpool to create the PFA team of the year this week, except for this precocious talent and a world cup winner more is required.
His last goal from open play came the last time United and Chelsea fulfilled in the FA Cup back in February. After exploding into life early in Solskjaer’s caretaker predominate, Pogba has returned into the peripheral drive he had been for much of Jose Mourinho’s period in charge at Old Trafford.
But it’s emblematic of the massive challenge that lies before Solskjaer the players he’s willing to keep hold of these as Pogba and David de Gea are running their contracts, even opening the possibility of a transfer.
Meanwhile, plenty of players at United’s bloated squad cannot be moved on because of their lavish wages.
“Paul has done excellent for us,” insisted Solskjaer.
“The criteria he’s set when he’s creating opportunities, scoring goals, doing loads of effort, that is just media, fans, everybody, we look to Paul. Could you have done it?
“He is a human being as well, we’re all exactly the same. We need him to perform well, he is a leader in that dressing room and on the pitch for us”
Most in Manchester, however, would not be heartbroken to lose Pogba should United recover the then world record #89 million that they paid Juventus for him 2016.
By comparison, losing Hazard could be ruinous for Chelsea and unfortunately for the Londoners, of both, that he looks more likely to proceed to Madrid.
Hazard has only 1 year left on his contract significance Chelsea risk losing him for free if they don’t let him leave this summer and will be unable to recruit a replacement unless they can find a FIFA transfer ban either overturned or suspended.
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri has repeatedly called for more from Hazard, but his 19 goals and 13 assists are what have retained a negative short on imagination still in the running for Champions League football next year, either through the top four or more winning the Europa League.
At the prime of their livelihood, Pogba and Hazard believe the Champions League stage is where they belong.
Nevertheless, the recent countries of United and Chelsea imply that while going to Madrid provides a promise of top-level European football, sticking around at Manchester of west London doesn’t.