Marouane Fellaini

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How will Man United deal with Paul Pogba’s injury?

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12 months ago Manchester United would have coped just fine when losing Paul Pogba.

Now, not so much.

[ MORE: 3 key battles in Spurs vs. Dortmund ]

Pogba, 24, went off injured just 19 minutes into United’s 3-0 UEFA Champions League win over FC Basel on Tuesday night at Old Trafford and the Frenchman is expected to be out for at least a few weeks with a hamstring injury.

Such has been Pogba’s importance to United so far this season, Jose Mourinho handed him the captains armband for their return to the Champions League. On the pitch Pogba has provided driving runs from midfield, scoring two goals and adding two assists as his offensive output has been cranked up several notches compared to last season.

Who will replace him in United’s lineup on Sunday against Everton (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)?

Marouane Fellaini is the main contender to slot right in for Pogba after his Man of the Match display against Basel in midweek where he scored and set up the third with a commanding display in central midfield. In many ways the role Pogba has been playing is perfect for Fellaini.

The Belgian had been restricted to a deeper central midfield role under David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal and even Mourinho last season, but if the Portuguese coach wants to lessen the impact of Pogba’s loss, Fellaini should slot in to start against his former club on Sunday. Mourinho continues to call Fellaini one of his “most important” players and the aggressive midfielder seems to have fed off that confidence given to him by his boss.

However, Mourinho does have options with both Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick waiting in the wings to slot in alongside Nemanja Matic against Everton.

Both would be a safer, more defensive option than Fellaini and given the Belgian midfielder facing his former club, tempers could flare in midfield just like they did last season at Goodison Park when he gave away a penalty kick moments after coming on as a substitute.

Fellaini will probably start but with Everton set to pack the midfield with playmakers like Wayne Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson and maybe Davy Klaassen, having an extra defensive midfielder may be the smarter move for Mourinho.

With games against Burton Albion in the League Cup, a Premier League clash at Southampton and then a trip to CSKA Moscow in the UCL, Fellaini is likely to have a bigger impact against those teams. Yet with Mourinho’s love for the Belgian midfielder very well, don’t be surprised to see Carrick and Herrera both on the bench this Sunday at Old Trafford.

Fellaini leads Manchester United win (video)

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With Paul Pogba injured, substitute Marouane Fellaini broke the Basel wall as Manchester United beat visiting Basel 3-0 in both teams UEFA Champions League group stage openers at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Fellaini assisted a Marcus Rashford goal and Romelu Lukaku also scored for United, who next takes to the road for a Sept. 27 match with CSKA Moscow. Basel will host Benfica on the same Wednesday.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]   

Henrik Mkhitaryan tapped a side-footed shot off the near post from within eight yards, then saw his rebound shot collected by Basel backstop Tomas Vaclik.

But United found its breakthrough before halftime when Ashley Young cut hard to win a yard of space on the right flank for a cross that Fellaini headed hard and home. 1-0.

Anthony Martial cut in from the left in the 52nd minute to threaten goal, but his low bounding shot was collected before it could reach the far pos

United regained possession quickly, and Lukaku made it 2-0 off a Daley Blind cross. It wasn’t much different from the opener, as dominant United cushioned its lead.

Mohamed Elyounoussi nearly won a penalty from Victor Lindelof but instead earned a dangerous shot that David De Gea leapt to push over the bar as Basel bid to pick up its first goal.

Fellaini’s cut back pass through the 18 went through Mkhitaryan’s legs and onto a plate for Rashford to blast past Vaclik.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

UCL AT HALF: Chelsea, Man Utd lead; Neymar nets for PSG (video)

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Two Premier League sides are home as the group stage of the UEFA Champions League begins its multi-month run on Tuesday.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

Chelsea 2-0 Qarabag

It did not take long for the Blues to take an expected lead on their visitors from Azerbaijan, with Willian playing a corner kick that Pedro blasted into the roof of the goal.

Then Davide Zappacosta, making his first Chelsea start, dribbled down the right flank before scoring a sensational curling effort from outside the far right corner of the 18.

Olympiacos 0-3 Sporting Lisbon

Seydou Doumbia put the Portuguese visitors ahead in the second minute. Cape Verde attacker Gelson Martins made it 2-0 just over 10 minutes later, and Bruno Fernandes has also scored for Sporting.

Manchester United 1-0 Basel

Paul Pogba pulled up with a leg injury and had to leave the rainy contest before the 20 minute mark. Marouane Fellaini replaced the Frenchman, and connected with the cross of fellow longtime Premier League veteran Ashley Young to make it 1-0 in the 35th minute.

Barcelona 1-0 Juventus

A solid save from Gianluigi Buffon on Luis Suarez kept the hosts off the scoreboard, but Lionel Messi was sure to have Barca in front when the halftime whistle blew at the Camp Nou.

[ MORE: Palace confirms Hodgson hire ]

Bayern Munich 1-0 Anderlecht

As if Bayern needed help from its Belgian visitors, a 11th minute red card to Anderlecht was met by a 12th minute penalty kick goal from Robert Lewandowski.

Celtic 0-3 Paris Saint-Germain

Neymar scored, and set up Kylian Mbappe for another, and Edinson Cavani won and converted a penalty as each member of PSG’s trident (KEN?) have scored at Celtic Park.

Neymar struck first to kick off his UCL career at PSG in style.

Elsewhere

Roma 0-0 Atletico Madrid
Benfica 0-0 CSKA Moscow

Jose Mourinho on Man Utd’s super subs: “They broke the wall”

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Given the criticism of some of his past teams, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho can respect a well-parked bus.

“The result was open, zero-zero, obviously difficult,” Mourinho said of visiting Leicester City. “The blue wall was very well-organized and I always give credit to that.”

[ RECAP: Man Utd 2-0 Leicester City ]

Leicester City did that effectively for most of Saturday’s 2-0 loss to the hosting Red Devils, but Mourinho’s substitutes shined in lifting the Old Trafford set to its third-straight win to start the Premier League season.

Subs Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini scored in the 70th and 82nd minutes, respectively, and third sub Jesse Lingard also played well. United heads into the international break with a spotless 3-0 record.

Mourinho said credit (or fault) is down to the players.

“It’s not my fault, it’s their fault. If I don’t have them on the bench, I cannot make successful changes. The players are good, the players are motivated, and the players work well and hard. If they are not playing on the pitch, they are playing on the bench waiting for a chance, waiting for a minute, and they broke the wall.”

The Red Devils were again very good, but how good?

Mourinho was ready with a simple response, “If I have to choose a word to try to describe my team, I would say solid.”

Manchester United 2-0 Leicester City: Mourinho’s men do it again

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  • Schmeichel stars for LCFC
  • Lukaku has PK saved
  • Rashford, Fellaini score
  • United now 3-0

No one marked Marcus Rashford on a 70th minute corner, and the substitute gave Manchester United its first goal in a 2-0 win over Leicester City at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The win puts United alone atop the Premier League for the time being, with 10 goals scored and not a single concession.

[ MORE: Mourinho’s reaction ]

Leicester has lost two of three to start the season, albeit to Arsenal and Man Utd.

Romelu Lukaku had a penalty saved by Kasper Schmeichel, who was well off his line to stop the well-hit left-footed effort. According to Opta, Kasper now has more penalty saves at Old Trafford than his father, legendary United keeper Peter Schmeichel.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Juan Mata thought he’d made it 1-0 after some bullish work from Romelu Lukaku, and Mata looked onside when he scored the rebound despite a call from the linesman.

Anthony Martial then started a lightning bit of possession that came within a yard of a goal when Paul Pogba‘s sliding attempt at the back post missed the mark.

Kasper Schmeichel made an outstanding save on Mata in the 20th minute, and Leicester very much could’ve been down three if not for its backstop.

Leicester finally found a chance through Shinji Okazaki after a lay-off from Jamie Vardy, but David De Gea was comfortable in collecting the low shot.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

After a trio of penalty shouts in the early stages of the second half, Danny Simpson handled a cross for what some viewed as a controversial penalty.

It was given, and Lukaku’s effort was strong but stopped by Schmeichel.

Leicester had a promising break to Demarai Gray and Riyad Mahrez cut-out by Phil Jones.

United found its goal off a corner kick as no one marked Rashford, and Fellaini looked a bit offside when he redirected a Jesse Lingard shot beyond the reach of Schmeichel.

Demarai Gray cued Andy King up for a doorstep chance at ruining United’s season clean sheet, but De Gea knocked the offering away.