Tag Archives: paul pogba

If Pogba stays, where do Man Utd finish in the Premier League

Man Utd manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has no qualms about Paul Pogba staying with the club.

Prior to facing Wolves, Solskjaer was once again asked about the future of Paul Pogba. Sky Sports reported his response as “I’ve got no concerns on Paul. For me, he is going to stay.”

With the manager so confident, a Pogba move away would question the authority and legitimacy of the manager.

With this in mind, it is almost certain that the World Cup-winning midfielder will be staying at the club. This is wonderful news for Man Utd fans as the quality of their midfield with Pogba in it is not enough to challenge for the title. Without it, they would be nowhere near challenging for Champions League spot in the top four.

Without the Frenchman, Man Utd’s best midfield would be Matic, McTominay and Fred or Pereira.

Unless Fred magically turns into the player they thought he was, Man Utd would have no creativity in their midfield. This would starve the attackers of chances, resulting in few goals and lots of pressure on their own defence.

Tough start to the season

Pogba has had a rough start to the season. He looked lost for the majority of the games against Chelsea and Wolves. Despite this, he got two fantastic assists against Chelsea and won a penalty against Wolves.

With a Paul Pogba who is full of confidence, motivation and is at the top of his game, imagine what he could do for Man Utd.

With Paul Pogba in full swing, which is likely to be seen as the season progresses, Man Utd well and truly have a chance at reaching the top three. However, Man Utd is not a one-man team and never has been.

Solskjaer and his team need to continue believing in their philosophies and allowing this very young side to gel and develop.

These 3 things were clear in Man Utd’s draw with Wolves

Both sides have plenty to take away from their 1-1 result at Molineux. The game was predicted by all to be close, due to Wolves’ tactically astute manager and incredible form against the top six.

The game showed the strengths and weaknesses of each outfit as they muscled out a 1-1 draw. Wolves have been known to play a very defensive style, which was the case in the first half.

Man Utd held onto possession for the majority of the first 45, with Jesse Lingard playing a vital role in the way the side moves the ball around.

Hopefully, Solskjaer has noticed the following three things that were clear in Man Utd’s draw against Wolves…

Paul Pogba played too deep

Pogba was almost a centre back for the majority of the second half. When Wolves were in control of the pressing and attacking, Paul Pogba was playing very deep and didn’t progress forward enough.

With the quality he brings to the attacking threat, he is wasted as a defensive midfielder. Despite his strength and stature, the best of him is seen in the opponents half picking out his teammates.

Games are won and lost in the midfield

Man Utd failed their fans by not signing a midfielder in the transfer window. It is by far their weak spot and this was exploited by Wolves.

The best ball holders and passers on the pitch were the two centre-halves Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire. This meant that most of the possession was in and around the defensive lines, inviting the press from Wolves. However, Nuno was clever and didn’t allow the Man Utd counter-attack.

When a team uses this strategy, possession and playing through the opponents with a talented midfield is the only way to win the game. This is why Man Utd drew against Wolves.

Luke Shaw is the weakness

Wolves brought on Adama in the second half at 1-0 down. He ran rings around Luke Shaw, resulting in Scott McTominay and Harry Maguire moving to the left flank to support their teammate.

This left an enormous hole for Ruben Neves, one of the best midfield talents in the league, to showcase his skill and quality almost untouched.

Had Man Utd’s defence been that of last season’s, they would have seen a very embarrassing scoreline.

‘Some say Gary Neville is still talking about Pogba’s penalty’ Has Neville overreacted to Man Utd star?

Gary Neville is being criticised for his relentless targeting of Paul Pogba after his penalty miss against Wolves at Molineux.

The Wolves v Man Utd fixture gave the fans, players and coaches plenty of positives and negatives to take away from the game.

For example, Man Utd’s defence looks incredibly solid and confident. However, Luke Shaw is a blatant weakness as he found himself in the back pocket of super-sub Adama. Daniel James has all the right ideas but needs more game time and confidence to become more clinical and consistent.

Martial and Rashford looked deadly, but with 65% possession and almost double the passes of their opponents, more chances need to be created.

But despite all of these lessons learned and improvements made, Gary Neville had only one thing to talk about after the game…

Gary Neville used his post-match analysis time to talk about Paul Pogba taking the penalty over Rashford. He makes fair and reasonable points about how the penalty taker should be decided in the dressing room and not on the pitch. But this conversation could have been five minutes long.

Neville’s constant criticism of Pogba has raised many eyebrows, particularly since the ex-Utd man isn’t perfect himself…

Uncalled for racial abuse

Paul Pogba received racial abuse on social media after his saved penalty that lost the Reds two points. People have made accusations that Neville’s monologues of Pogba’s shortcomings have incited this horrendous behaviour…

The likelihood is that Gary Neville did not want these repercussions. But merely targets Pogba due to his status as a world-class player. However, the persistent criticism remains unjustified, as there are eleven players with the World’s most prolific badge on their chest, not just one.

Some are waiting for Neville to address the issue…

Racism in football or anything at all is totally unacceptable by today’s standards.

But setting that part of the overall issue aside, there is still cause for concern with the amount of criticism aimed at Paul Pogba for his penalty after the 1-1 draw against Wolves…

…when there are so many positives, negatives, improvements and moments of brilliance to talk about instead.

Man United need depth after Solskjaer runs out of answers following Wolves draw, agree?

A tough game for Man Utd was expected against Wolves at Molineux, and a tough game is what they got.

Wolves and Man Utd faced off at Molineux in a highly anticipated match-up. Had Wolves been spared Europa League football this season, many would place a bet on them finishing in the top 6.

The game proved to be a tight matchup as momentum and confidence swayed between the two sides throughout the game.

Man Utd controlled the game in the first half an hour, having well over 65% possession and seemed to be in total control of the game. A well-worked and beautifully struck goal from Anthony Martial backed up the new number nine on the back of his shirt. But if he wants to be up there with the best, he needs to be the man who digs Man Utd out of tight games like this one, to help them clinch a win.

Solskjaer’s defence is very solid until shaken. A ricochet off the post and into De Gea out of immediate danger resulted in the Reds looking scrappy and disorganised for far too long. Gaining and keeping composure is something this side has to work on.

Man Utd played the ball around their own half, and in some instances played some fantastic football out of the back. However, Wolves used Man Utd’s tactic against them by pressing and enticing errors.

Whether it be a statement of Wolves or Man Utd, both teams appeared evenly matched. Wolves had the aforementioned ricochet whilst Paul Pogba missed a penalty for Man Utd. Either way, the game was as tight as we all expected.

Did Solskjaer make some bad decisions?

Solskjaer’s approach has been questioned. After half time, Wolves manager Nuno opted to bring on the strong and pacey Adama who turned the game on its head. Man Utd had no answer other than relying on their strong defence to keep out as many goals as possible.

Jesse Lingard, who had been running the game in and around the opponents half, was subbed off for Juan Mata, who made no impact. Mason Greenwood replaced Dan James, who also looked threatening throughout the game, and couldn’t find time to get into the game.

Man Utd were the more dominant side overall. With 65% possession and 652 passes compared to the opponents 352, the Reds failed to do anything in the final third.

Adama stopped his side from losing

Playing down the right flank, Adama proved too much for Luke Shaw. This resulted in McTominay and Maguire edging towards the left-back position to provide support, leaving massive holes in the midfield. This is where the game slipped away from the Red Devils. Their defence is lacking quality as is, even more so when their midfield isn’t in the mid-field.

Overall?

Expected. Wolves are a fantastically solid side against the top 6. They have the squad, the manager and the ability to finish top 6 this season. I suppose the true victor will be crowned when they face off at Old Trafford…

2 positives and 2 negatives for Man Utd should Pogba leave

European football clubs still have until September to sign players. Could we see Man Utd lose Paul Pogba in the coming weeks? And how on Earth would Solskjaer cope with even less midfield quality?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has appraised Paul Pogba even before joining as a manager. He said he would aim to build a squad around the midfielder, but have these plans changed after Pogba’s plans changed?

There is no doubt that, should Pogba stay this season, Solskjaer will be building and aiming high with his team in order to gain the approval of the Frenchman.

Should Man Utd come away with silverware, a top-four finish and the feeling of a positive future, Paul Pogba may well decide to commit to the club.

But preparing for the worst is always the best option. Man Utd needs to learn how to survive without Pogba or a replacement.

Here are the pros and cons of Paul Pogba leaving (this month).

‘Ruthlessness’

Man Utd and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have stressed the fact that they have no interest in players who are not ready to commit to the club. By dismissing Paul Pogba, it would be a huge statement about what type of character they want in the squad.

Youth development

Losing a senior player without a replacement inline offers little progression for the club except for the involvement of youth. By losing Paul Pogba, there would be space for players ranging from Fred and Pereira to James Garner to step up to the plate.

Goodbye top four

Man Utd would have nowhere near enough quality to finish top four without Paul Pogba. Against Chelsea, the Blues could have easily scored one or two goals on a different day. Paul Pogba was heavily involved with two goals with fantastic assists, meaning that the Reds may well have come away without three points had Pogba been absent.

Angry fans

The fan base would be furious. As at least £150million will go into the owner’s wallet until the next disappointing transfer window. Having failed to secure a midfielder in summer, fans would feel as though they had been robbed blind should Pogba leave in the current transfer window.

2 positives and 2 negatives to Paul Pogba staying for Man Utd

Solskjaer has been confident throughout the transfer window that Paul Pogba will remain with Man Utd this season. However, reports suggest that the Frenchman is still eager to move to Real Madrid.

Paul Pogba still wants to leave Man Utd despite their drastic change in style which resulted in the emphatic 4-0 win over Chelsea, according to La Liga outlet Marca.

Man Utd is undefeated so far since the beginning of pre-season. They also got off to a great start by thumping Chelsea. Unfortunately for Man Utd, it seems this may not be enough to keep Pogba in the side, long term.

Other European leagues have until September to sign players, meaning that Pogba could still go to Real Madrid in the coming weeks. However, it appears likely that the World Cup winner will remain at the club for another season. Here are the pros and cons of keeping him…

World Class

Man Utd’s world-class talents include David De Gea, Paul Pogba and the painfully out of form Alexis Sanchez. Pogba’s class proves permanent in games like Chelsea at Old Trafford where he looks sloppy and out of form but pulls off two incredible assists against a top-four rival.

Personality

Paul Pogba offers much more than just class on the field. The midfielder is closely knitted with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood. Having a group of friends playing football together will perpetuate the positive mindset instilled by Solskjaer over recent weeks.

However…

Wanting to leave

We have seen a lacklustre Paul Pogba when he was dissatisfied with the previous manager Jose Mourinho. There is a potential for Paul Pogba to kick up a fuss and play at 50% due to not getting the move he wants. This toxicity and lack of effort could totally unravel this Man Utd side.

Hypocrisy

The Man Utd board and coaching staff have claimed that they have no time for players who don’t want to be part of the club. Which explains why so many signings fell through this summer. However, Paul Pogba himself doesn’t want to play for Manchester United. So were the board untruthful or does Paul Pogba get special treatment?

Man Utd pass up on 75.1% pass completion rated midfielder, a good move?

Manchester United decided not to sign Bruno Fernandes this summer, and the Daily Mail have reported that club scouts warned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that the midfielder gives away the ball too much.

Man United have been linked with the 24-year-old throughout the summer however, club scouts who were watching him decided that his style of play would not suit the team.

Even though Fernandes works with an element of risk in the attacking third, his pass completion was 75.1% last season. This has not been deemed high enough by the scouts. If you compare this stat to Paul Pogba, his pass rate is 82.8% and if we move away from Man United, Kevin De Bruyne has a consistent pass rate of 82% and over.

Personally, I think we now analyse players too much by stats and not through actually watching them play. Man United will be looking for new options now in midfield, however, here’s two things Fernandes could have brought to the Manchester team.

Positions

He is known as an attacking midfielder and is comfortable in that position. Fernandes also has the role of a striker in his profile. This means that Manchester United have missed out on a possible goalscorer too. Since 2017, the 24-year-old has appeared 66 times for Sporting Lisbon and scored 31 times. He’s also been a part of Portugal’s youth teams and senior squad since 2012.

Cheaper

Harry Maguire

Obviously, Man United went all out for Harry Maguire this summer and need to try and cut down on spending, so Fernandes would have been a cheaper midfield option than some. According to Transfermarkt, he went to Sporting for £8.72 million and is now worth £49 million. Yes, you can find cheaper out there although Man United’s scouts clearly have a high standard and that would have to be met.

Deserved: Two reasons why Man Utd are right to extend centre-backs stay

Swedish outlet Sportbladet reports new contract for Victor Lindelof, taking him to 2025 with Man Utd.

The partnership between Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire in Man Utd’s 4-0 victory over Chelsea was something Red Devils haven’t seen in years. Their defensive solidarity allows for the Reds to play the ball out from the back. The team can now attack with confidence as they trust the defensive barracks behind them.

Maguire signed a contract with Man Utd until 2025, with the option of extending a further year. Victor Lindelof, according to reports, is also being offered a contract until 2025. Coincidence? I think not.

The Football Manc Cave bring you 2 reasons why Victor Lindelof signing a new contract is essential to Man Utd’s future…

The perfect match

Maguire and Lindelof against Chelsea

Since Lindelof’s arrival at Man Utd, he has been playing alongside Chris Smalling and Phil Jones on the majority of occasions. Two defenders who were completely dropped from the squad on the opening day this season.

Partnered with Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof’s deficiency (aerial dominance) is covered.

Maguire acts as the rock of the defence, whilst Lindelof is slightly more nimble and can pull off last-ditch tackles and keep up with pacey attackers.

The way the newly wedded partners Maguire and Lindelof behaved, conducted and commanded the game against Chelsea was nothing short of outstanding. Solskjaer has landed himself one of the best defences in the league, especially with Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the mix.

Do one, Barca!

Reports over summer suggested Barcelona were interested in Victor Lindelof. Upon his arrival, the Swede struggled with the physicality of the Premier League. At this time, he would have been a perfect fit for Barcelona.

Lindelof’s quality suggests that he still is. However, the ‘Iceman’ has worked on his physicality, as well as aerial dominance and other areas he lacked in. This made him the first choice centre back for both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Although the defender is not seen in the limelight, shouting and raving about his love for the club, his determination to improve himself and his weakness demonstrates that he is the perfect fit for Man Utd.

Making him all the more likely to see a renewed contract as a reward, and not as a hurdle in stepping up to a bigger European club.

Solskjaer has instilled a fighting team spirit. Soon, the squad will be drilled in winning everything, every time, just like the old days.

His management kept Paul Pogba committed to the club, so keeping Lindelof should be a breeze.

Man Utd can score goals but are one injury away from the inadequacy of last season – Agree?

The dark cloud over Old Trafford appears to be fading. What does Man Utd’s 4-0 thrashing over Lampard mean for the Red Devils as they march on?

No honest Man Utd or Chelsea fan can admit they saw that coming. Despite Chelsea having moments of showing how they can find themselves in dangerous areas, the attacks were always snuffed.

Man Utd and Chelsea are in similar situations, both have a much weaker squad than they have done in the years gone by, both feel they are underachieving and both are managed by a club legend.

This occasion was truly boys versus men. Man Utd allowed Chelsea the arrogance to try and bring the game to the Reds on their home turf, backfiring 4 goals from 5 shots on target. Which leads on to the first key thing we learned from Solskjaer’s 4-0 win…

Clinical United

Romelu Lukaku’s departure from the club left many fans scratching their heads. Where on Earth was Manchester United going to get their goals from?

If Man Utd had just beaten Norwich, Sheffield Utd or Newcastle 4-0, with respect to those clubs, there would still be concern about how Man Utd will cope this season.

However, in a campaign where Man Utd are fighting for 4th place with Chelsea and Arsenal, the Reds have already sent one of them to the bins. With a fairly given penalty buried by Rashford, he continued to show how much bottle he has.

A real number nine goal for Man Utd’s number nine. It saw Man Utd play it out to the wing, whipped in across goal from Pereira and met in front of the net by Anthony Martial to make it 2-0.

Merely seconds later, a beautiful pass behind the Chelsea defence came from a quiet Paul Pogba, controlled and slotted home by Marcus Rashford. Challenging Martial for his striker spot.

Finally, a dream debut for substitute Daniel James. As Pogba drove forward, the Welsh speedster caught up to him on his right-hand side, was played in and buried it home.

Basically, Man Utd can score goals this season.

Ole agrees! Team selection

Man Utd fans worldwide disagree on many things, to the abuse of players, to the ownership to how nice the new strip is. But one thing they all agree on is that Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, and Nemanja Matic are crucial to why Man Utd will fail this season.

Be it silly mistakes, lack of quality or inability to keep up with the new style of play; Solskjaer gave none of them game time today.

It is positive for fans to see their club moving forward, after falling behind for so many years. It appears the concerns of the fans are also the concerns of Solskjaer and all are on the same page with how this Man Utd team should look, behave and perform. Unfortunately, the Reds are merely and injury or two away from having an inadequate squad.

If Man Utd play this 11, they will ease past Chelsea

Now that the transfer window has closed, The Football Manc Cave has predicted Manchester United’s starting line up for the season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team start the season on Sunday the 11th of August and they’ll face Chelsea at 4.30pm.

The transfer window is now closed and one of the biggest talking points of the summer has been Harry Maguire. He’s joined Man United for a record-breaking fee. Aaron Wan-Bissaka has also joined the club and should have an impact on the squad going forward.

With that in mind, here’s the squad I’ve predicted…

Clearly, De Gea will open the line-up. Harry Maguire should then get his first start for the club to see how he’s blended in with the reds. Wan-Bissaka should also be started ahead of other options and be joined by Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling.

Despite Pogba’s future being questioned all summer, he’s ended up staying with the reds and should start this weekend with Scott McTominay accompanying him.

These two should then have the support of Rashford, Lingard and Daniel James. Martial should then be solo upfront. The formation could be changed, however, I do think this line up will be pretty similar to what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will pick.

Having new signing start is a risk, however, it’s the first game of the season and a chance to see how these players have gelled together and how they’ll cope.

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