Home Football Stats And Analysis From Another Poor Paul Pogba Performance For Man United

Stats And Analysis From Another Poor Paul Pogba Performance For Man United

Manchester United endured their second defeat in less than a week tonight as they went down 1-0 to Feyenoord in their Europa League opener.

José Mourinho rested a number of first team players for tonight’s fixture – Luke Shaw, Antonio Valencia and Wayne Rooney were all left at home, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic started the game on the bench.

One player who did feature from the beginning, however, was Paul Pogba. The £89m signing hasn’t exactly set the word alight since sealing the most expensive transfer of all time back to Old Trafford last month.

Even as Manchester United have made a good start to the season, Pogba’s own performances have not quite been up to the standard already expected of the French international.

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 15:  Rick Karsdorp of Feyenoord chases down Paul Pogba of Manchester United during the UEFA Europa League Group A match between Feyenoord and Manchester United FC at Feijenoord Stadion on September 15, 2016 in Rotterdam, .  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

He was roundly criticised for his display in the defeat to Manchester City last weekend, in a showing that lacked discipline and positional sense.

If anything, his performance at De Kuip tonight was even worse. In a game that became more physical as it went on, Pogba went missing in a match that seemed tailor-made for his strengths.

The statistics from tonight appeared to confirm this, as the 23-year-old allowed another game to pass him by:

His abject first half display did not improve after the break. His passing percentage did improve slightly (86% according to Whoscored), but this was another chance for Pogba to grab a game by the scruff of the neck – when there was far less pressure on him to perform than in the Premier League – and he hasn’t taken it.

In fact, his heatmap for the game (available in the above link) showed that he spent most of his night on the left flank, occupying the same positions as Anthony Martial (and later Memphis Depay) as his general positioning was all wrong again.

His passing was wayward, his shooting worse and he was easily the worst of Manchester United’s midfield trio tonight, behind the impressive Morgan Schneiderlin and combative Ander Herrera.

Of course, the judgemental bitchy friend that is Twitter was on hand to gleefully take Pogba down another peg:

Manchester United's Paul Pogba (C) and Manchester United's English defender Chris Smalling react after losing the UEFA Europa League football match between Feyenoord Rotterdam and Manchester United at the Feyenoord Stadium in Rotterdam on September 15, 2016.

Of course, all of this comes with the massive disclaimer that it is surely only a matter of time before Pogba comes good.

Perhaps he was played too far forward tonight, when the solution seems to be, as Paul Scholes was suggesting after tonight’s match, operating with a controlling midfielder behind him to allow him to flourish.

Scholes suggested Michael Carrick but Morgan Schneiderlin may in fact the answer based on his own showing tonight.

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - SEPTEMBER 15:  Morgan Schneiderlin of Manchester United in action during the UEFA Europa League Group A match between Feyenoord and Manchester United FC at Feijenoord Stadion on September 15, 2016 in Rotterdam, .  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Of course, that means removing Wayne Rooney from the number ten role, which looks highly unlikely at this stage.

All in all, Sunday’s trip to Watford has already taken on an added level of significance.

(It should be added that Pogba wasn’t the worst player on the pitch tonight. That was Marcos Rojo, by a somewhat ridiculous distance.)

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Read More: Feyenoord 1-0 Manchester United: Player Ratings From A Bad Night For José At De Kuip

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