Monday 16 April 2018

Pogba the frustrating epitome of our inconsistency

Can anyone, please, explain how you can go from beating the best team in the country on their own patch from 0-2 down, to then losing at home to the worst team in the league - a side on the very precipice of the relegation trapdoor - the very next match. Welcome to life as a Manchester United fan. In a football week of comebacks, shocks, surprises and drama, West Bromwich Albion sprung another major upset with their third Old Trafford victory in five seasons thanks to a Jay Rodriguez header. After the feast came the famine, a sense of after the Lord Mayor's show and having denied City the title on derby day, they were gifted it here in underwhelming and anticlimatic fashion. In the past seven days, all logic, sense and rationale seems to have gone out the window.

I'd be surprised if this was a new feeling, but indeed it isn't - more a case of an infuriatingly frustrating sense of deja vu. The exact same thing happened a little over a month ago. We beat Liverpool in the league before an ignominous Champions League KO at the hands of an eminently beatable Sevilla side three days later. It would not surprise me in the slightest if we lose to Bournemouth in midweek but then go out and turn over Tottenham in the semi final on Saturday.. indeed that would be our season in a nutshell. Our record against the league's heavweights has been almost exlempary having beaten all of the top six, and we've shown that we can beat anyone on our day, but defeats to Huddersfield, Newcastle and now WBA - with an EFL exit to second tier Bristol City thrown in to the mix - have undermined those impressive big name scalps.
There's no doubting that progress has been made - if it hadn't then how have we gone from sixth to second, and the potential this sie possesses in frightening, but an infuriating lack of consistency continues to plague us. Why is anyone's guess - I can't put my finger on it. The line-up that Jose went with should have been good enough to get the job done, bearing in mind it was - bar Mata and Lindelof - the same one that performed so well in the derby. It's not as if Jose tells them to play superb one week and complete garbage the next - are we perhaps instead looking at a mentality and attitude problem. That would certainly help to explain why we have found life more difficult against the league's lesser lights..
The epitome of our erratic season sits with £89m Paul Pogba. The second half against Manchester City was Pogba at his brilliant and bullying best, driving United on, dictating the play, causing havoc with his passing and driving runs, an immense lung - busting performance, arguably his best for us so far - capped with a superb brace. He looked a world beater. In stark contrast against WBA, a game made for Pogba to dominate and boss, he was hooked after an hour having been stymied and stifled by Jake Livermore. Jake. Livermore!
Granted he had been booked, and that surely played a part in his premature departure, but there seem more to it than that - it seemed as if Jose did not trust him to be the man to lead an ultimately futile turnaround.  Pogba's inconsistency encapsulated United as a collective. He, like his team-mates, lurched from the sublime to the ridiculous. It's an all too familiar feeling.

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