Amid Manchester United’s mixed start to the season, a worrying over-reliance on Paul Pogba seems to be emerging.
Opposing teams are becoming increasingly aware that if you stop Pogba, you stop United.
The Frenchman made it no secret he was ready to embark on a new challenge this summer has been deployed in a deep-lying playmaker role in the early stages of the new campaign.
Although Pogba set up two goals playing in a deep role for United in their only victory of the season so far against Chelsea, the World Cup winner is getting frequently caught in possession.
There is no denying the former Juventus man is the lynchpin to United’s creativity, but every time he is receiving the ball he is being hounded by two or three opposition players.
A lack of quality at United?
Pogba’s performances are always compared to the dizzy heights he reached when playing a pivotal role in helping France win the World Cup.
When pulling on his national team jersey, Pogba has often produced high level performances and it is clear when he is distributing the ball to his team mates, he trusts them in possession.
The same cannot be said when he is playing for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’ s side, there have been several occasions where Pogba has dawdled on the ball and seemed hesitant to pass due to an element of distrust in some of his team mates.
Scott McTominay has been an ever present next to Pogba so far this season and Andreas Pereira has benefitted somewhat from the departure of Ander Herrera.
Nemanja Matic made a brief cameo first appearance of the season against Southampton and Fred is still yet to feature in any matchday squad.
The quality next to Pogba in midfield at United is a stark contrast from the N’Golo Kante and Blaise Matuidi energetic partnership he has had recently at national level.
At Juventus, Pogba was nurtured by the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio.
Pogba was pushed further forward against the ten man of Southampton in an attempt to conjure up some magic and earn the Red Devils three points.
But the build up play from United’s other midfielders was lacklustre and lacking urgency.
If United are to progress this season and unlock the trap door when playing against compact defences, Pogba’s fellow midfielders are going to have to be willing to incorporate an element of risk into their passing.
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