Paul Pogba is Man United's creative hub and Jose Mourinho should be given credit for setting him free

In this edition of 'In Focus' we analyse the performance of Paul Pogba after Man United beat Leicester 2-0

Alex Rea
by Alex Rea
26th August 2017

article:26th August 2017

Substitutes Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini scored as Manchester United continued their 100 percent start to the Premier League season by beating Leicester City 2-0 on Saturday.

Leicester threatened to frustrate United when Kasper Schmeichel saved a penalty by Romelu Lukaku early in the second half, but the hosts’ pressure told in the last 20 minutes.


We analyse the performance of one key man from the game – Paul Pogba.

STATISTICS

Goals – 0 

Shots – 6 (1)

Shots on target – 0 

Touches – 131 (1)

Key passes – 1 (T3)

Dribbles – 4 (1)

Dispossessed – 6 (1)

Aerials won – 1 (T4)

Pogba reacts after hitting a shot wide

Pogba reacts after hitting a shot wide

EFFECTIVENESS

First half it seemed he was trying to break the record for most shots by a single player – his five wide were the most for any player in the first 45 minutes of a Premier League fixture since Mario Balotelli in 2012 against Bolton.

But with Leicester sitting six-seven players deep in their box, it meant he was afforded the space time and time again to shoot from range, narrowly missing with a couple of belters.

Of course, the licence to get in dangerous positions has come from the safety net of having Nemanja Matic in behind him, but even though Leicester didn’t help themselves, he was playing the role he’s designed to play and he ripped the visitors apart.

His range of passing with either foot was smooth and he was the player United looked to, to set the tempo of the attack.

The France international was the host’s creative hub in the first half but his impact lessened after the break as others come to the fore.

Still, Mourinho’s tactics to alleviate all his defensive responsibilities means we are seeing the very best of the 24-year-old – all he needed was a goal.

United's No6 endured a quieter second half

United’s No6 endured a quieter second half

KEY MOMENTS

19th min CHANCE – Cerebral stuff from United as Lukaku played the ball out wide for Anthony Martial who worked space to float a cross towards the far post and arriving late Pogba stretched to volley but the ball drifted just wide when he should have scored.

24th min SHOT – Pogba thunders forward and smashes a rising shot from 25 yards out and although Schmeichel is beaten, his effort swerves just wide of the far post.

35th min SHOT – Another hit from Pogba but this time a 30-yard drive just narrowly evades the left post as he belts a skidded strike wide.

41st min KEY PASS – A beautifully picked out ball from right to left picks out Daly Blind and his flat cross finds Lukaku who should have done better with his header.

Pogba connects with one of his 131 touches

Pogba connects with one of his 131 touches

VERDICT

A series of right-footed drives should have resulted in at least one goal but regardless he was United’s creative heartbeat and his importance on this team grows with each passing game.

Kudos to Mourinho for building his team around the Frenchman because we will see Pogba flourish this season as a result of Matic’s acquisition.

7.5/10

All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com


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