Three trophies in one year. Not a bad return for the most expensive player in the world. Pogba has answered his critics in some style. While more will still be expected of the midfielder, the French star can be proud of his first year in England. Has the United playmaker improved on his last season in Turin?Today we’re asking two Red Devils to give their thoughts on his progress.
Pogba V Pogba: He has improved since last year
By “John R.”
Liverpool fans in particular rejoiced at the start of the season. Pogba was only finding his feet but “flop” was shouted out on social media every bloody weekend. Three trophies and qualification to the Champions League later, those same critics are suddenly quiet.
Paul Pogba has been a revelation this season. Let’s not forget that this was a team not only in recovery, but also in transition. Mourinho had to pick up the pieces after three disastrous years of mismanagement. Pogba has quite often found himself playing alongside Fellaini in midfield. While I’m actually quite a big fan of the Belgian tank, he’s not exactly the most mobile. Therefore, Pogba needs to cover a lot of ground. He’s not only put a shift in every week, Pogba has managed to become the focal point of the team.
A long, brutal season
54 games. Add in 10 international games and you’ll see why I was so impressed with Pogba’s performance against Ajax. His pass percentage completion rate has risen to 85.1% in the league this season. 8 goals and 5 assists does not paint the full picture. United have taken on a defensive shape this season. Mourinho realised that the foundations needed strengthening so made us difficult to break down. In turn, this limited our attacking intent. However, Pogba showed his mettle as well by winning 2.8 aerial battles per game, which was 1 higher than last year.
Serie A is a weaker league
Pogba played for Juventus in what is a one-team league. Roma and Napoli have improved this season, but last year’s campaign was a procession for Juve. Compare this to the conditions of the Premier League. All the top sides improved considerably. Nevertheless, Pogba was an ever present in a United side that over achieved. In my opinion, that makes this season a far better one that his last in Turin.
Pogba V Pogba: His last year in Turin was better
By “Damien T”
I do believe that Pogba will become an integral member of the team for years to come. It’s also fair to say that we paid too much for him. 85 million pounds is a huge amount of money even in today’s game. While I’m relatively happy with his first season at Old Trafford, I do think that his last year in Juventus was even better.
The stats don’t lie
In 35 Serie A games during the 2015/2016 season, Pogba scored 8 goals and had 12 assists. Eight times, he was awarded man of the match. This also helped to inflate his transfer fee. Compare those stats to this year’s relatively meager offerings. In his eight Champion League outings, he had one goal and two assists to his name. That doesn’t tell the full story as he won plaudits for his performances until Bayern knocked Juve out.
7 matches in France also helped to put another few million on to his price (his agent did the rest). Pogba excelled in the Euros, dominating the midfield and helping his country to the final. They ultimately lost in brutal fashion to Portugal but Pogba had certified his position as a world star.
I’m delighted with how the season went but I’m not getting carried away. United finished a distant sixth in the league. Ajax showed how lacking in quality the Europa League was with their performance in the final. A League Cup victory was brilliant but not something United supporters dream about. This season was all about making steps in the right direction.
While Pogba had a solid campaign, he was short of sensational. We often struggled against the sides around us and many were left waiting for a moment of inspiration from the French midfielder. It’s clear that Pogba is still a work in progress. His stats this year reflect that. Therefore, while I’m content with his first year at Old Trafford, I’m not deluding myself in to thinking that his last year at an all-conquering, Juventus, was not better.
Who do you agree with? Has Pogba’s first season in United been an improvement on his last year with Juventus? Let us know by voting below:
Photo by NazionaleCalcio
Photo by l3o_
Main Image: ManUtd.Com