Most Manchester United fans and Souness are the only ones on earth not seeing Paul Pogba’s contribution to the red devils since he arrived from Juventus in 2016. He is responsible for every defeat the team faces even when he doesn’t play according to most fans. As it stands now, these sets of fans will throw a feast when they see Pogba holding another football club’s jersey.
But is Paul Pogba that bad? Is he not giving his best to ensure the club gets the required win they play for every time he walks into the pitch? Or the fault can be traced to the team and/or manager? Well, if we are looking for where to based the arguments that Pogba is not giving United 100% performance, then we will have to hold Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer responsible for that. And also the fans not understanding how football works and how to judge players based on their positions.
Until Cristiano Ronaldo made football about goals, players in the past were judge based on their roles and ability to play the game like an art. Paul Scholes was a great player but you can’t compare him with the likes of Zidane, Riquelme, Rui Costa and Guti. Unlike Scholes, the others played the game like how Michael Angelo would have done oil painting with Canvas. Today football fans judge every player based on the number of goals they scored or assists they provided. These are predominantly the only parameters fans from England use to gauge of good a player is for their favorite teams.
You see fans compare Paul Pogba with Bruno Fernandes and Kelvin De Bruyne like he plays the same position as every midfielder walking under the sun. Most of these fans don’t know the French international is a central midfielder. Pogba is a central midfielder! His job is not to score or assist goals.
Before we get into the red devils’ star game, let us understand who a central midfielder is. What are the responsibilities of a CM and what stats we should be looking at when we want to judge who is the better central midfielder?
A central midfield player provides the link between his team’s defenders and attackers. These guys are the core of any football club as they are responsible for the flow of their teams’ games. If the midfield is weak, expect your team to get overrun by the opponents.
Depending on the formation, a central midfielder could be asked to do more defensive duties or attacking ones. Regardless of what the coach wants from his CM, at the end of the game, passing accuracy, chance created, interceptions, aerial duel won, and successful tackles made should be the only parameters used to judge a central midfielder.
Therefore, it is wrong for anyone to judge Paul Pogba’s performance based on whether he scored or assist a goal. Before he arrived at Man United, Pogba had played 164 matches for Juventus. 141 of those games had him in a central midfield position where he managed to contribute 66 goals to his team. Based on these stats, we can see that he has a 0.47 chance of providing a goal for his team if he plays as CM. Did he play another position for this team? Yes. 17 times as a defensive midfielder and 3 times as an attacking midfielder. It should not surprise you that Pogba contributed 2 goals in 3 games from that AM position.
If we must judge him based on goals and assists, fans should know that Paul Pogba has played only 28 matches as an attacking midfielder and contributed 14 goals( 7 goals and 7 assists).
How does Pogba stats compare to other central midfield greats in the last 10 years? Players like Xavi, Iniesta, Thiago, Kroos, and Modric? It will disappoint you to know that Pogba has better statistics in terms of goal scoring and assisting than your favourite CM from central midfield. You should click the links to see the stats for yourself from transfermarkt.
It is time these fans and Souness cut Pogba some slack. As an attacking midfielder, his stats(50% chance of producing a goal in a game) aren’t that bad compared to Bruno and De Brune who both have a 76% chance of producing a goal in any game they play.
Since he moved to England, Paul Pogba has only been fit for 3 seasons and in those seasons, he was able to contribute at least 10 goals each season with an average rating of 7.65/10 according to FotMob. In fact, the least he has got while playing for Manchester United is 7.10 in the 2019/2020 season. Meaning, in his worst season at Manchester, Pogba produce a B-type performance. While Rasford’s best performance in Man United is still B.
To point out Ole fault in Pogba not producing B+ or A type of performance for Manchester United as regular seen when he goes to play for France, we will have to look at some stats that really shows how good this guy is. In his first season, Pogba created 61 chances and gave 57 key passes. In his second season, he created 49 chances and gave 39 key passes. And the third season, he was able to create 64 chances and gave 55 key passes. This is his best season for Manchester United. He finished the EPL campaign with 21 goals contribution.
Ole came on board and since then, his stats look like a midfielder in clubs like Everton or Leceister. Please, we at Zonalfootball am not disrespecting those clubs. Man United is a top team in world football and should get B+ performance from all players. Under the Norwegian, Pogba has created 60 chances and gave 56 key passes in 2 seasons. These stats show something is wrong with the way Ole set up the team and no Pogba.
If you think Paul Pogba has been average or below average for Manchester United, you need to start looking at stats and using common football knowledge to access whether it’s true or false. We should stop spreading false info on players on social media. Because one weak pundit made a statement borne out of hate doesn’t mean it is true.
Pogba has been Man United best player since he made the switch from Turin to Old Trafford. And fans should be happy they have the best central midfielder player for them. We should stop clamouring for him to move to Paris St Germain. Get in good players and get a good coach, Man United will not only see how good a player Paul is, but they will also see titles start coming into the cabinet again.
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