A good start but more to come: Assessing Paul Pogba's first season back at Old Trafford

A good start but more to come: Assessing Paul Pogba's first season back at Old Trafford

The Frenchman returned to his former club for a world record £89 million transfer fee from Juventus

ryan-fisher
Ryan Fisher

Paul Pogba has divided opinion since his return to Old Trafford for a monstrous £89 million from Juventus, but manager Jose Mourinho is very happy with his record-breaking midfielder.

The Frenchman arrived as one of the hottest prospects in world football; a physically dominant yet beautifully skillful central midfielder who was named in the 2016 FIFPro World XI, as a part of a Juventus side who had dominated the Serie A.

The hype surrounding his arrival was fully justified for a player of unrivalled potential, especially considering he was pairing up with Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the first time in his career.

A slow start

Despite an impressive debut against Southampton, Pogba failed to really hit the ground running as the Red Devils' form slumped in the early stages of the Premier League and Europa League.

The Red Devils were a long way off the pace after crushing defeats to Manchester City and Watford left him a fair way behind the front runners domestically, and an away defeat to Feyenoord meant they faced an uphill battle to get out of the Europa League groups.

Turnaround

However, a turnaround in United's form was triggered by an upturn in Pogba's form as United went on a run of 17 games unbeaten in all competitions, and 25 games without defeat in the league.

His confidence grew as the team's fortunes changed for the better, and Pogba was able to unleash all the qualities that attracted United to him.

The physical prowess and aura he possesses in the midfield is unrivalled in world football, and the ability to drive his team forward, linking defence and attack is second to none.

Striking from range is also a key asset, one which he displayed when scoring wonder goals against Swansea and Fenerbahce.

Big game influence

A criticism thrown at Pogba was that he didn't influence the big games enough for a player of his callibre, which was a very fair criticism earlier on in the season.

The Frenchman was anonymous in the clashes against Manchester City and Chelsea, as well as being at fault for conceding a penalty against Liverpool at the Theatre of Dreams.

But as the season progressed, Pogba stood up when it counted for United. He made N'Golo Kante look average as United breezed past the Champions Chelsea at Old Trafford, and was man of the match in the away leg of the Europa League semi-final against Celta Vigo.

His progress was capped by a well deserved goal in the final against Ajax, cementing his impact on United's season.

Let down by the forwards

A trademark of United's season has been poor finishing, and Pogba is not immune. He hit the woodwork six times and only managed five goals when he should've really put away more.

However, the poor finishing of the attackers has been Pogba's, and United's main issue this term.

Manchester United missed 50 big chances in the Premier League, the most in the league, with Ibrahimovic missing more big chances than he scored goals.

This meant that despite creating over 50 chances in the league, Pogba only ended up with four assists for his efforts.

Trophies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

United's ultimate goal for the season would've been to get back into the Champions League and win a trophy, so the season has been a success.

Wins in the Community Shield, EFL Cup and the Europa League mean United will be in the group stages of Europe's premier competition again next year, and they've completed the clean sweep of trophies available to them.

There can be no question that Pogba was instrumental to these victories, the team averaged over half a point less per game when he was missing.

It was a promising debut season for the world-record signing, but there is definitely more to come from Paul Pogba.

VAVEL Logo
    CHAT