After two months out with a torn hamstring, Paul Pogba returned against Newcastle and played like he'd never been away.
The Reds have lost of the two of the last three league games and have struggled for fluidity during a patchy run that has seen City open up an eight-point lead.
Against Rafa Benitez's side, however, this was the team of August and September: the free-scoring United who started the season in such impressive fashion.
It's no co-incidence that, on the day the Pog returned, so did United's swagger, style and goalscoring touch.
The match did not get off to the best of starts as Dwight Gayle put Newcastle ahead on 14 minute - the first goal by an opposition player against United at Old Trafford this season.
But from the moment Anthony Martial headed us level eight minutes before half-time, there was only ever one winner.
Pogba picked up the man of the match award and epitomised his team's performance with an immense display of pace, power and purpose - he was absolutely magnificent and received a deserved standing ovation when taken off after 70 minutes.
He set up Martial for the equaliser and grabbed a goal himself, as he finished off a wonderful team move for 3-1 early in the second half.
We are a team and no player should be considered more important than any other, but the influence of Pogba on this side has only become more enhanced during his two-month absence.
As Jose has suggested, Pogba affects United's dynamic and style in a way that perhaps no one else can.
He is the cog and engine around which this side is built, and his injury enforced lay-off has clearly had a negative impact on not only results, but also performances.
Ander Herrera is a capable deputy and a good player himself, but he's not good enough to fulfil such a crucial role in the team.
Nemanja Matic, too, looks visibly more composed in the presence of the Frenchman - and, in turn, the signing of the classy Serbian is the main reason why Pogba has been in such impressive form.
Matic's job as the team's pivot and shield in front of the back four allows Pogba, freed of any defensive duties, to roam freely in attacking positions higher up the pitch.
It was impossible not to view United's resurgence solely because of Pogba's return to the team ahead of Herrera.
Pogba endured a slow start to life back at United after he re-signed for an eye-popping £89m, and was quickly written off as a flop, and made a scapegoat, during those difficult early months.
Those critics have been forced to eat their words, and Pogba is now showing the world class ability we've always known that he's had.
David de Gea may have a fair argument, but even Jose himself could not claim that Pogba is now United's most important player.
Post a Comment