Manchester United continued their mini-resurgence with a hard-fought 2-1 win away at Crystal Palace on Wednesday night. Whilst Jose Mourinho’s men were not at their best, there was one player that really helped them get the 3 points.
Paul Pogba was absolutely immense for Manchester United on the night, scoring the first and assisting the second goal, but those were not his only contributions in what was a near faultless performance. Pogba won 100% of his tackles, 6 aerial duels, 4 take ons and managed 4 shots, with one crucially giving United the lead.
Pogba is effective both offensively and defensively and he showed that against Palace, making 4 key passes, 6 clearances, 2 interceptions and 2 tackles.
Pogba was involved heavily in the build-up for United, completing a huge 93 passes with a fairly impressive 82.8% accuracy rate. The Frenchman has never been the neatest in possession and he wasn’t again on Wednesday, but he is a different and unique breed of midfielder. Combining defensive & technical ability with athleticism, he completed 4 of his 5 attempted long balls and 1/1 through ball. Despite playing centrally, Pogba still managed to attempt 2 crosses – highlighting how he was involved all over the pitch and central to everything United did.
To be honest it is about time that Pogba produced such a dominating, match-winning performance. Costing the club £90million, his influence this season has been limited to date and the club certainly need him to make the difference in games like these more regularly. Mourinho will also surely want to see the club’s record signing produce performances like these in the big matches against their title rivals.
Here’s how Twitter reacted to Pogba’s performance. Do you agree with these thoughts?
Pogba’s finally picking up speed, playing better and getting to the consistency that’s expected of him.
— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) December 14, 2016
That ball from Pogba was superb, that man can see a pass. What a ball.
— ReviewFootball (@ReviewFootball) December 14, 2016
Paul Pogba was absolutely fantastic tonight against Crystal Palace, starting to find his feet.
— AidaN ? (@AidanMUFC_) December 14, 2016
Pogba immense tonight. We lacked genuine pace, lost some fluidity without Mkhi, but overall the fight and drive was clear and present. #MUFC
— Rob Blanchette (@_Rob_B) December 14, 2016
He's slowly adapting to the league but Pogba was different gravy tonight & has so much to offer. Gonna be great to watch through the years!
— Charlie Ford (@charlieford10) December 14, 2016
That performance from Paul Pogba was so impressive. Controlled the midfield, scored a goal and assisted Zlatan's winner.
— The Man Utd Way (@TheManUtdWay) December 14, 2016
I must admit, Pogba’s performance on Wednesday night was excellent. He finally produced a performance that justifies the price that United have paid for him. Whilst I think he has been good for United since signing, he has been great, enough of the time. Like any player that moves from a foreign league, there is a settling in period and Pogba is not immune to that. It may be the case now that he has fully settled and is ready to step up and produce more World Class performances like he did on Wednesday night.
That’s the key thing: when you pay so much for a player you need them to win you points, making the difference in games where you don’t play brilliantly. Mourinho may say otherwise, but United were far from brilliant against Crystal Palace and without Pogba on the pitch I severely doubt that they would’ve picked up all three points.