Paul Pogba’s season was all about hitting the woodwork. He has hit the post eight times in the Premier League which is more than any other player. This makes the metaphor feel like an obvious one and his first year back at Old Trafford seems few frustrating inches from doing so much better.
According to Frank Lampard, Pogba is not being played in his best position which is making it difficult for him to perform effectively. Pogba could argue about his statistics that his fortune is not on his best side but that would be half true. He has not yet reached the heights that are expected from him. Many have started to believe that he does not have the quality to be a dominant player.
His year has been an odd mix of startling brilliance, apparent disinterest and visible anxiety so far. Those characteristics were often seen in the same performance. The thing with Pogba is that he is an inspiration to many just because of who he is. He symbolises the expectations around him and that is why his marketing appeal is so huge. He is stylish, likeable and photogenic. He has found the key to the world but he is unsure about how to drive forward.
He is a player of exceptional gifts undoubtedly and that will never be in dispute. He is accurate regarding long passing and his feet are quicker than most of the centre forwards. Right now he is forcing his game to its significant detriment but he has a shot of fearsome power. Pogba is always in a hurry. He took around 124 goal attempts last season and it was more than any other Europe’s five major leagues. His target is to end up somewhere near that total this season. Unfortunately, his performances have shown a pattern this season which rise steadily in quality until it comes to a match where the stage is set for him to prove himself.
The same happened against Liverpool in the Premier League and Southampton in the League Cup final where he started the game with his brilliance. He was close to scoring a gol that could have settled his nerves but both the times his confidence crumbled. Zlatan’s goal came as a rescue in both the matches.
The next few matches are going to be interesting. Pogba will take the leadership for the team at some point of time in Ibrahimovic’s absence due to suspension. He is an interesting character who does not seem to enjoy the limelight too much. He needs to refine his playing style and add more structure to it. Pogba needs reinforcement in order to perform better in summer and show his best.
He might be already taking advice from Patrice Evra of Manchester United who had a difficult start at the club. He became one of the finest full-backs to grace Old Trafford. Pogba has been uplifting during the two month stretch and he is one of the main reasons that United have been unbeaten in the league for a long time.