August 22, 2016 at 2:59 pm #1178355
Having taken some time to tactically “analyze” our performance against Southampton compared to the performances on the back end of the preseason and against Bournmouth it is patently evident that Pogba was Mourinho’s most crucial transfer target from the beginning of the window. I remember we were discussing the possibility of United failing to secure Pogba and the alternatives mentioned were players like Matuidi, Kroos, etc. Hell I even mentioned Dembelé.
The simple fact is there is no other midfielder in world football who can carry the ball forward the way Pogba does – it’s really a joy to behold the power, pace, poise, and skill he possesses. When you add, his mobility, passing range, vision, and aerial presence it’s a thing of beauty – a complete midfielder.
This post is not just about waxing lyrical on Pogba though, what really came to mind after watching the Southampton game is that we are going to be extremely dependent on him to be effective.
It is clear that Mourinho has already gone a long way to erasing the sterile possession of van Gaal. We had 43% of possession at Old Trafford but we restricted Southampton to basically zero chances, our defensive shape and discipline is brilliant. The counter attack is clearly where we will look to do damage and this means our only proper outlets (besides Pogba driving through the middle or the left) are Martial (or Rashford), Shaw, and Valencia. I noticed that all the dangerous situation we created on the counter started with Pogba driving the ball through the middle (9 completed dribbles) before releasing it out wide to Valencia or Martial.
So my question is this, what happens if Pogba is suspended/injured/fatigued?August 22, 2016 at 4:08 pm #1178511
Herrera seems to be the closest player to Pogba in our midfield. Im assuming he would play unless we change the tactics, which is the more likely solition.
Pogba is a younger, more balanced version of Y.Toure. He certainly drives forward like the Ivorian.August 22, 2016 at 4:24 pm #1178550
@the legend. Exactly that mate. If Pogba doesn’t play we, quite simply, will be forced to change the tactics. Herrera is nothing like him, he can pass the ball and interchange but he cannot carry it forward.
In my view, I would like to see us mitigating the Pogba risk by playing Fosu Mensah as the 2nd choice. His passing range is not the same but he has the pace, power and engine that Pogba has. We would then be able to blood a youngster in his preferred position while also keeping the team’s tactics as consistent as possible.
Just a thought.August 22, 2016 at 4:38 pm #1178616
I dont understand how anyone can compare Herrera’s style with Pogba? Ander is a passer who is neat in possession. Pogba has it all, drive, skills, defending, creating. Pogba is what Anderson was meant to be but unfortunately not. Watching him friday night made me appreciate why Jose wanted him by all means. Only few players have his attributes.August 22, 2016 at 4:40 pm #1178622
Very impressive debut. Definitely the player we’ve been missing since Keane.
I understand the Fellaini partnership but don’t agree with it. Blind or Schneiderlin would offer more in that position and would offer more protection to allow Pogba to drive forward than Fellaini.
Sadly it looks as though Felliani will become a permanent fixture purely due to his height and apparent strength. Doesn’t matter that he can’t pick a pass and has no footballing brain.August 22, 2016 at 4:52 pm #1178643
@manthistle. I understand your point on Fellaini as Schneiderlin and Blind have more nous about them. I don’t like Fellaini either but he has done very well in these first two games.August 22, 2016 at 6:08 pm #1178718
@manthistle do you really think that JM would pick a player can’t pick a pass and has no footballing brain? Is it possible that you are perhaps prone to exaggeration (as well as negativity)? I am certainly not Fellaini’s biggest fan but I agree with most on here that he has done a good job in the first two matches. If he carries on like that I am more than happy to have him in the team because he seems to compliment Pogba in a very good way.
The football we played against Southampton was so much more pleasing to the eye than anything we have produced under LVG and long may that continue. I am not JM’s greatest fan either but I am also more than happy to be proved wrong by him as well.August 22, 2016 at 6:43 pm #1178748
@hatters – some of us already knew Pogba possessed all those qualities you mentioned even before Fergie let him slip through the net. Agree with your post wholeheartedly. The team will look totally different without him that’s for sure.August 22, 2016 at 6:55 pm #1178772
Brilliant player, unbelievable how we could have let him go. Not the missing piece in the jigsaw though hatters. The biggest missing piece perhaps, but there are still several other missing pieces mate.August 22, 2016 at 8:36 pm #1178838
You think Fellaini compliments Pogba more than Schneiderlin or blind? How would you know that given that Pogba has played with Fellaini for just 90 mins and has never played with anyone else yet? It was only Southampton and they still created a lot of chances. Fellaini didn’t exactly ‘shut up shop’ did he!August 22, 2016 at 9:30 pm #1178907
@manthistle. Mate Fellaini has been one of our best players in the two games we have played, that is a roundly accepted opinion. If you can’t see that then we will have to agree to disagree.
Thus far we have looked like a well oiled machine and Fellaini has been an important cog of that. Fellaini currently deserves his spot and until he loses form, he will keep it.
Gotta love meritocracy.August 22, 2016 at 9:53 pm #1178943
Manthistle is just upset that fellaini is ahead of Carrick. Fellaini has actually completed most passes this season with 93% success rate. If that was carrick manthistle would have been all over this site telling us that he is good as xavi.
@hatters if pogba is out I think we can still do well with ibra, martial, miki, rooney and herrera in side. Plenty of fire power there but agree pogba takes us to another level.August 22, 2016 at 10:06 pm #1178958
I’d like to see Blind partnering Pogba, although that might require us to bring another CB in for cover. Blind definitely has the passing range and what he lacks in speed he makes up with his reading of the game. Playing at the back has also improved his defensive skills which will complement Pogbas attacking abilities.
I also think Schneiderlin is capable of more and hopefully he’ll be able to show it. Herrera alongside Pogba is also an option for some games but then again, Mourinho seems to favour Fellaini. He adds plenty of hight and threat on set pieces but it’ll take a lot more to convince me. He’s done okay so far this season but he’ll be a liability in the big games against better players, unless Mourinho discovers some magic formula.
Everything depends on Pogba; he’s definitely head and shoulders above our other midfielders and the best midfielder we’ve had since Keane & Scholes in their prime. People talk about our great loss for years ago but, for me, playing for Juve improved him more than staying here would have.August 23, 2016 at 9:50 am #1179420
I think we’d be ok if Pogba was missing for a few games. We did ok against Leicester and Bournemouth without him. Granted he makes us work a lot better but its a team game and i’d hope Mourinho would have a back up plan if he was out for any reason.August 23, 2016 at 10:03 am #1179474
@happyhurling. Good point. What I liked the most about the presence of Pogba is it pretty much made Ibrahimovic stay up top as he felt no need to drop back into the midfield areas. Rooney better realize that he is clogging up the space that Pogba wants to drive into by dropping back.
With Pogba able to make penetrative passes along the deck, dinks over the top, and dribbles past the opposition midfield there is no reason for Rooney and Ibrahimovic to drop back. They should simply run the channels and keep moving on the last man’s shoulder.
If Pogba is unavailable we will play at a slower tempo but can at least expect something special from the gamebreaker Ibrahimovic.August 23, 2016 at 10:10 am #1179489
Honestly if its not broke don’t fix it. Winning in football is all about having a good team not necessarily the best talented players. Lots of fans don’t like Fellaini and i’m one of them, ditto Valencia at right back. However, despite the need and pressure to buy top players which most of us fans want, improvement on the training ground is part of what makes manager top class. We have seen that in Fellaini and Tony.
I will let Fellaini be for now, he is doing what the manager wants and doing it well. Jose has seen his attributes and played him to his strengths. Break up play, be a nuisance to opposition without the elbows, win headers and pass the ball short to a more creative player. He is not trying to be Xavi or Iniesta creating chances, its something similar to what Makalele did for Jose earlier. Just keep it simple and its working well. Herrera cannot partner Pogba effectively because it will limit Pogba’s forward movement and restrict him to defence. Morgan maybe but he too is a box to box midfielder like Pogba not a defensive midfielder. Only Carrick can play the Fellaini Role effectively allowing Pogba to go forward. Herrera, Morgan all will be brilliant if we shift into a 433 formation, which will not happen if Rooney is still there.August 23, 2016 at 10:16 am #1179513
Hatters – Yeah agreed. Will be interesting to see the team, when fully fit, really going after teams. We need to tonk a few teams 5-0 to get that fear factor back. It’s interesting about Rooney. A lot of people think he will slow down the play or stop the attacks (he didn’t slow down the play that much with his awesome assist to Zlatan last game did he?!). But I think that, with other superstars in the team now, the pressure/expectation will be shared and he should thrive. Cheers.August 23, 2016 at 10:29 am #1179537
@femoo. I fully agree with you on Fellaini. I was the first to criticize him all of last season and wanted him out in the summer but look at him now, he looks a great foil for Pogba because we play with a deep defensive line – kudos to him and Mourinho. Let him continue until he loses form. I disagree with you on Schneiderlin though, who I reckon is a sitting midfielder just like Fellaini except he has a bit more guile about him. I suspect he will also improve because of the fact that we play with a deeper defensive line.
Let’s not forget that we mostly played with sterile possession and a high line last season. This is why we always got exposed so much in counter attacks when we lost the ball. Our tactics perhaps made Carrick, Schneiderlin, and Fellaini look much worse than they are. These are the types of players that shield a defence, something which is a hell of a lot more difficult when you are caught far up the pitch.August 23, 2016 at 10:39 am #1179561
fatrooney – when did I mention Carrick? I’ve only ever mentioned Schneiderlin and Blind. Reading what you want to read again?August 23, 2016 at 10:48 am #1179582
Fellaini against Southampton made just one block, one headed clearance (I thought thats why he was in the team, for his aerial presence), two tackles, zero interceptions, two clearances, won 4 of just 5 aerial duels, created zero chances, 85% pass completion (just 49 passes. Pogba made 72 in comparison). I really don’t see what he offers ahead of Blind and Schneiderlin.
You must be logged in to reply this topic.