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

Alex Rea 26/08/2017
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

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


Most popular

Related Tags

Liverpool to make big push to sign Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as West Brom ready Mamadou Sakho bid

David Cooper 26/08/2017
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Another day in football, another wave of transfer rumours to keep up on. Take a look at the most recent names and gossip being floated around in the media.

Will any of the following deals happen?

Let us know your thoughts by getting in touch via Twitter and Facebook.

ALEX OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN

According to the Mirror, Liverpool will make a last-ditch offer for Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Reports emerged yesterday the Gunners have offered the England international £185,000 per week to extend his contract which runs out next summer.

However, the 24-year-old has apparently turned that down in search of more first-team football opportunities in his preferred centre-midfield berth.

RATING: 7/10

SPORT360 VERDICT

He’s an archetypal Jurgen Klopp player so it’s no surprise they’ve been linked – especially with the Gunners apparently willing to listen to offers of around £35million.

Chelsea, though, are strong contenders for his signature and have already had a bid turned down.

It will be interesting to see if he’s pulled from Arsenal’s first XI as they face Liverpool tomorrow.

ROSS BARKLEY

Chelsea will attempt to beat Tottenham to land Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, reports the Telegraph.

The Premier League champions are trying to sign one of three home-grown stars with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater also targets.

RATING: 6/10

SPORT360 VERDICT

Barkley could be available at a cut-price £20million which will certainly perk the interest of Chelsea and Tottenham considering he’s been valued at £50million previously.

Chelsea need to reinforce their squad if they’re defend their title this year and a move would Barkley would go some way to solving that, although time is running out.

Ross Barkley

Ross Barkley

MAMADOU SAKHO

West Brom will smash their transfer record in a bid to sign Liverpool centre-back Mamadou Sakho, according to The Telegraph.

Sakho is up for sale but the Reds have so far been unwilling to budge on their £30million valuation, though Tony Pulis will meet that with Jonny Evans set for Manchester City.

RATING: 7/10

SPORT360 VERDICT

If Evans does join City then this would be a wise reinvestment of that money as Sakho, despite being made an outcast by Jurgen Klopp, is a dominant centre-back – he proved as much on loan at Crystal Palace last season.

Mamadou Sakho

Mamadou Sakho

Most popular

Related Sections

For the generation who watched him put on an England shirt there will only ever be one Wayne Rooney

Jim van Wijk 23/08/2017
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

No England fan will ever forget the name Wayne Rooney.

From the moment his arrival was announced on the Premier League stage with that goal for Everton against Arsenal on October 19, 2002 as a raw 16-year-old talent, the striker’s fast track into the national team was a given.

That came against Australia at West Ham in February 2003, when coach Sven-Goran Eriksson handed Rooney his senior England bow, becoming the youngest player to represent his country, and he would soon become the youngest goalscorer en route to Euro 2004.

Rooney on his England debut against Australia

Rooney on his England debut against Australia

The teenager caught the world’s attention in Portugal by scoring a brace against first Switzerland and then Croatia as England recovered from an opening loss to France.

This was, we all believed, the start of something special, a once-in-a-generation goalscorer to join the ranks of Jimmy Greaves and Gary Lineker, and even perhaps eventually surpass the record of Sir Bobby Charlton.

This was, though, also England, and all those years of hurt have taught us things are never so straightforward.

As Rooney limped out of the quarter-final against Portugal in Lisbon, you sensed England’s hopes went off with him, and so it proved as another dreaded penalty shoot-out ended in heartbreaking defeat.

It could have all been so different, of course, but that balmy summer would set the tone for Rooney’s international career, coming so close yet always being left with a sense of what might have been.

Rooney comes off injured against Portugal in 2004

Rooney comes off injured against Portugal in 2004

The nation prayed for Rooney’s fractured metatarsal to heal in the run-up to the 2006 World Cup after the then Manchester United forward faced a race against time to be fit to be on the plane to Germany, where England’s ‘Golden Generation’ were supposed to finally come of age.

Rooney was our talisman, the one player whom every other nation feared, the street footballer who could turn a match with a moment of wonder but which to him was delivered with the same ease as if he had been enjoying a kick-about with his mates back home in Croxteth.

It was his greatest strength, and perhaps also his greatest weakness.

The red mist descended in Gelsenkirchen, where Rooney, possibly in frustration at not being able to live up to the weight of expectation on his not fully fit shoulders, stamped on defender Ricardo Carvalho and was given his marching orders, as a winking Cristiano Ronaldo looked on.

His sending off against Portugal in 2006

His sending off against Portugal in 2006

Extra time and a defeat on penalties, of course, was inevitable. Also certain was how dependent England would remain on Rooney.

He was the man, now 24, Fabio Capello turned to for his captain when John Terry and Rio Ferdinand were not available for the friendly with Brazil in Qatar in November 2009 as the Three Lions looked to move on from the failings under Steve McClaren.

The 2010 World Cup presented another opportunity for Rooney to take centre-stage, but again there would be disappointment for both player and country, which boiled over with an outburst against the travelling support straight down a TV camera in the wake of a lacklustre goalless draw against Algeria in Cape Town before a 4-1 humiliation by Germany in Bloemfontein.

Rooney went into Euro 2012 with a two-match suspension, ruling him out of the opening group matches before finding the net against Ukraine to once again become England’s saviour only for fate to deal another penalty shoot-out defeat, this time against Italy.

Despite not being able to deliver at an international tournament, Rooney remained on course, slowly but surely, to close down on both a century of caps and Charlton’s tally of 49 goals, finally breaking his World Cup drought in Brazil, albeit in defeat against Uruguay in Sao Paulo as England finished bottom of the group.

Appointed successor to Steven Gerrard as England skipper under Roy Hodgson, there was new hope again on the road to Euro 2016, which little did we know it then would be Rooney’s final appearance at a major championships having made the most of being deployed in a deeper midfield role.

The landmarks of both a century of caps and goals were chalked off en route to France, where a man who had served his country so tirelessly deserved more than the way Hodgson’s talented squad were left humiliated by the defeat to Iceland in Nice.

That presented Rooney with the opportunity to follow Hodgson out of the England spotlight, but it is testament to his character that the captain stayed on to help usher in a new era under Sam Allardyce’s short-lived reign, even if he sensed then he would no longer be the man around which the side revolved.

While England is now left to find another talisman on the field under Gareth Southgate, for the generation who watched him pull on the Three Lions jersey 119 times and score 53 goals, there will only ever be one Wayne Rooney.

Provided by Press Association Sport

Most popular

Related Tags

Related Sections