Paul Pogba may have scored but it was a poor performance for Manchester United

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Disappointing day: Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba captained Manchester United during their 3-2 Premier League loss at Brighton.

First-half goals from Albion trio Glenn Murray, Shane Duffy and Pascal Gross inflicted defeat on United, with Romelu Lukaku pulling one back before Pogba scored a late consolation with a penalty.

Here, Press Association Sport analyses Pogba’s performance at the Amex Stadium.

Role
Pogba lined up on the left side of a three-man central midfield, with Andreas Pereira as the anchor man and summer signing Fred further right. The 25-year-old was often the most advanced of the trio, looking to assist central striker Lukaku and wingers Juan Mata and Anthony Martial. His defensive responsibility appeared limited. In the second half, he was deployed in a deeper position after Pereira and Mata were replaced by attacking England duo Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford.

Link-up play
Pogba slipped through Lukaku in the opening 10 minutes but the Belgium international squandered the opportunity. He was guilty of a risky pass to Pereira in the build up to Brighton’s opening goal, while a sloppy ball across goal to Eric Bailly just after the restart almost let in Solly March. He conceded possession on a number of occasions with poor distribution, including a pass which went straight out of play for a Brighton throw-in.

Paul Pogba didn't have the best time days

Paul Pogba didn’t have the best time days


Body language
The World Cup winner’s languid style can make it tough to accurately assess his demeanour but he certainly looked frustrated as his team once again struggled on the ground which was the scene of a 1-0 defeat in United’s penultimate away trip of last season. He was repeatedly seen expressing his displeasure by waving his arms about, particularly in a second period in which United showed little sign of fighting back.

Goal threat
Pogba was on target from the penalty spot in United’s opening win against Leicester and he again converted from 12 yards here, although it was too late to make a difference. His first-half cross-shot sailed harmlessly over, and he was unable to break into the box after being dropped into a more defensive role by manager Jose Mourinho at the break. A shot from range with 15 minutes remaining was tipped wide by Albion goalkeeper Mat Ryan.


Overall
Pogba is reportedly unhappy at Old Trafford and he did little to quash those rumours with his display on the south coast. He had little impact on the game and his attempts to galvanise his team-mates during a torrid first half in which they conceded three times appeared half-hearted. United were desperate for a leader to help inspire a second-half response but Pogba seemed more intent on bemoaning the situation before converting an inconsequential spot-kick deep into stoppage time.

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Usain Bolt touches down in Sydney ahead of trial with humble Central Coast Mariners

Alex Broun 19/08/2018
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Usain Bolt frenzy in Sydney

Some might see it as a bizarre publicity stunt but athletics legend Usain Bolt says his plans to play for the humble Central Coast Mariners in the similarly humble Australian A-League are serious.

“This is real,” said the 31-year-old amidst frenzied scenes as he touched down in Sydney on Sunday.

“I’ve said it since my last season of track and field that I wanted to play football and I knew what I’m capable of. I know what I can do.”

Bolt’s foray into football, including previous sojourns with Borussia Dortmund and Stromsgodset in Norway, have been seen by some as nothing more than a gimmick, but the man himself insists it’s no joke.

“They (the Mariners) gave me a great opportunity and I’m really happy about it,” he continued.

“I’m just going to come here and do my best as always. I always put my best foot forward and I’m just going to show the world I’m here.”

The Mariners home ground, the Central Coast Stadium, has a capacity of just 20,059 and is a long way from the great stadiums of the world which Bolt is used to filling, but he says he feels at home in Woy Woy as much as London or Rio.

“As you all know I love Australia, so I’m happy to call Australia home for now,” Bolt told a delighted crowd.

“I’m more excited than anything else.”

The Mariners will certainly welcome the presence of the triple world record holder with attendance and interest down as the club has finished in the bottom three in the last four seasons and last in 2017/18 and 2015/16.

A far cry from their titles of 2007/08 and 2011/12, the second under now national coach Graham Arnold.

And certainly Gosford and Wyong, the central hubs of the Central Coast and just a short hour long drive north of Sydney, will welcome the exposure to promote themselves more as a tourist destination.

Bolt does not see this as a short term adventure.

Asked how long he plans to stay in the region, Bolt replied: “Forever hopefully.”

“I’m here for a trial period, but I’m going to push, work hard and show what I’m capable of. I’m sure my best foot forward will make it.”

Bolt has a little under two months to prove his worth as the Mariners’ season kicks off on Sunday October 21 when they face the Roar in Brisbane.

The Jamaican once dreamed of Olympic glory – that dream came true.

This second dream may be a little harder to achieve, especially with the whole world watching.

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Alisson could be the man to help Liverpool end league title drought, says Brad Jones

Matt Jones 19/08/2018
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Brad Jones was part of the Australia squad at this summer's World Cup.

It may be early days but goalkeeper Alisson could be the final piece of the jigsaw that finally hands Liverpool an elusive top-flight English league title in 29 years.

That is the opinion of former Reds stopper Brad Jones, who feels the new arrival from Roma will thrive at Anfield following his summer move from Serie A.

Liverpool are one of the most successful and popular clubs in English as well as world football, but they have not lifted the league crown since 1989/90.

They have been usurped as the kings of England by rivals Manchester United in the intervening years and found challenging for the domestic title an eternal struggle in the Premier League era – but Jones feels the new arrival from the Eternal City could be key.

“He’s Brazil’s number one, he’s played for Roma so he obviously has the pedigree and I think he’s someone that will excel there,” Jones said, speaking to Sport360 in Abu Dhabi last week.

“He’s obviously had a brilliant two years. He’s a big name that the fans demanded and it’s difficult when you come in to such a big club. They want big signings and I think he proved himself at the World Cup.”

Alisson could be prove to be pivotal in Liverpool winning a first English top-flight title in nearly 30 years, says Brad Jones.

Alisson could prove to be pivotal to Liverpool, according to Jones.

It’s often said goalkeepers win you trophies. The men between the sticks were certainly key for past Premier League winners – Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar at the Red Devilas, David Seaman at Arsenal, Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois at Chelsea and Joe Hart at Manchester City.

And even though Liverpool might be contending with a City side some critics already boldly consider to be the best side of the Premier League era, Jones feels Alisson can help Liverpool bridge the gap to Pep Guardiola’s record breakers.

“Time will tell,” added the veteran Australian, 36, who played 25 games in four seasons for Liverpool from 2011-15.

“He looks like he’s settled in well and the club speaks highly of him. You don’t want to put too much pressure on him, on just the one position, or say it’s the fault of the other keepers that it didn’t happen in the past.

“At the moment it’s something that’s a work in progress and he’s started well. Let’s hope he’s the last link to the puzzle.”

Jones, who spent the majority of his career in England and exclusively in Europe until this summer, was talking in very different surroundings at Al Jazira’s Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium last Monday where he is at the beginning of a new adventure with Saudi Arabia giants Al Nassr.

Jones, who moved to Riyadh following the expiration of his deal at Feyenoord earlier this month, played a part in Nassr’s 2-1 victory against Jazira that put the Saudi Premier League side in the driving seat for a place in the last 16 of the Arab Champions Club Cup.

He may have played in Europe exclusively up until this summer, but challenges are nothing new to Jones – he moved to Middlesbrough in 1999 from his native Australia – aged just 17.

And coming to the Kingdom is one he wanted to try before retirement.

“It was something new, you know,” said the Perth native, part of the Socceroos World Cup squad this summer in Russia.

Jones was a back-up goalkeeper for Liverpool from 2011-15.

Jones was a back-up goalkeeper for Liverpool from 2011-15.

“The offer came and it’s nice to experience something different and, coming to the tail end of my career, it’s an option that interested me and it’s a challenge. It’s a new challenge, a new experience and something I can talk about when I’m finished.”

Apart from getting used to the stifling Middle East heat, Jones is enjoying his new surroundings.

“It’s a bit different to Europe,” he joked, referring to the weather, having let an Ali Mabkhout shot spill out of his grasp, allowing Khalfan Mubarak to fire Jazira level after Nassr took a 1-0 lead in the capital.

“It’s so hot and humid and it’s obvious that it’s impossible to keep the tempo high and that’s the problem the national team face when they come here. It was in the end a good result in difficult conditions and that was obviously the main thing that we needed, the result.

“It’s been really good actually (settling in). The players have all taken to me and the staff have been really good. Riyadh’s been good so far and like I said, it’s something different and I’m enjoying the experience so far. It’s certainly a little bit different to Liverpool. A lot drier in Riyadh.”

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