The Riddle That is Paul Pogba - Matchora

The Riddle That is Paul Pogba

Dogged by despondency and uncertainty in the past weeks, the euphoria and celebration surrounding the Old Trafford grounds could be deafening, as United carved out a rousing win against Newcastle.

Two goals down in the first ten minutes of the first-half, the Red Devils pulled off a remarkable comeback to win 3 – 2, with the final goal – from Red Devils winger, Alexis Sanchez – coming just on the dot of full-time.

While the goal scorers soaked up the plaudits and praises, there was no question of who deserved the man of the match award.

Contentious French midfielder, Pogba: largely ineffective in the first-half, coming into his own in the second.

With United two goals down by the end of the first-half, the second-half saw the Red Devils spread out in a perplexing formation.

Positioned in the base of midfield and effectively functioning in a midfield-cum-centre-back role, Pogba was flanked on either side by Chris Smalling and Nemanja Matic.

And from this position, the midfielder dictated play. From launching long balls into attack effectively splitting the midfield, to coordinating the movement of play around the centre midfield area, he continually provided the base as United went all in, in search of a result.

Sending pinpoint crosses from deep within United’s half with eight United players effectively stationed in Newcastle’s final third, the Magpies were pinned back and could do nothing as they defended resolutely the siege on their eighteen box.

Pogba picked up an assist for the Anthony Martial goal with a sublime skill – a dummy toward his compatriot – the French forward striking in for goal.

A secondary assist – a softly laid ball to Ashley Young on the left flank for the cross – forged the winning goal.

A scathing down of Newcastle full-back, YeAndre Yedlin in the 63’ minute to stop the onslaught of attack typified his commitment, with the midfielder earning a deserved yellow card in the process.

During the game, the midfielder completed an estimated 15 high intensity sprints while supporting the attack and not shirking on his defensive duties.

It was a performance that stood out and displayed why he had the £89m price tag on his head.

Over and over again, he could be seen moving the ball around the centre one moment, and the next, in the Newcastle eighteen-box, as United went in search of an equalizer.

Successfully fighting for every second ball, he got in the tackles and interceptions, getting involved in 15 duels in total – ensuring the Red Devils got the ball back quickly and turned defense into the offensive.

With United usually guilty of slow, side passes and selecting safer options when passing to a teammate – the Frenchman equally culpable of such despairing conduct – the French midfielder ramped up his game – taking short, quick, forward passes – making 87 completed passes, with 59 of those passes in the Newcastle half.

The output was reminiscent of the game against Manchester City where he dragged United across the finish line – the Red Devils almost subject to a humiliating display with City on course to pick the Premier League in that particular game.

One would wonder, where do these performances emerge from? Should United tweak the score sheet in future games to be on the losing end to get the best out of Pogba?

Since his introduction back to the Premier League, there’s been criticism of inconsistency in his game, with the midfielder strongly contributory to United’s slow, ponderous play.

Pondering upon these issues, a world-class performance from the midfielder and a rightfully deserved man-of-the-match award, it is without saying that the midfielder put in a performance resplendent of the fourth most expensive Association Football transfer.


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