Thursday, 15 December 2016

Man of the match Pogba comes of age and repays his fee

That was why we re-signed him for £89 million. 

There were a number of fine individual performances from United players on Wednesday but Paul Pogba was head and shoulders above everyone else.

He scored the opener on the stroke of half time - albeit in controversial fashion - and then set up Ibra to smash in the winner two minutes from time to cap a superb man of the match performance.

We signed him to produce match winning moments like that and he certainly delivered in what was a 'coming of age' performance. 

He has been quietly and consistently impressive over the last few weeks but he stamped his class at Crystal Palace with a brilliant, string-pulling display.

He is learning to dominate and influence matches and has started to grab tight games by the scruff of the neck. 

There have been accusations that Pogba is lazy but we did not see that here.

He would occasionally drift wide and further forward to link the attack and was also not afraid to track back and do his bit defensively, either. 

It was a supreme display of power, pace, poise and passing and and a performance that went some way to justifying his transfer fee.
As we've mentioned elsewhere, his link-up with Zlatan Ibrahimovic proved crucial as the duo linked up to sink Palace and he also, once again, profited from Michael Carrick's presence alongside him. 

You couldn't have asked for more and it was the Frenchman's best game in a United shirt since he re-joined the club in the summer. 

Carrick was also, once again, the key man in midfield for us and ran Pogba close for the title of best player on the pitch. 

It's no co-incidence that Pogba's best performances for us have come with Carrick alongside him and United remain unbeaten from games in which the 35-year-old has started.

His vital importance to United is obvious. 

Pogba claimed another assist to add to his recent contributions against West Ham, Everton and Zorya and the Stratford End crossbar is probably still shaking after his free-kick hit it against Spurs.

There was more to Pogba's personal performance than his goal and an assist, though.

His link-up play was superb, his strength and alacrity kept Palace's playmaker Yohan Cabaye quiet and he was seemingly at the heart of everything his side did.

In the absence of the injured Henrikh Mkhitaryan, the Frenchman provided the spark United needed. 
He was everywhere at Selhurst Park and was the dominant, driving force behind a crucial victory for the Reds. 

The critics couldn't wait to jump on Pogba's back for the slightest error and he was made an unfair scapegoat for United's indifferent early season form.

It speaks volumes that those naysayers have quietened down and Pogba is now proving them wrong. 

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