The above quote, published by Mark Ogden, will no doubt attract criticism and ridicule on social media but is it really that far wide of the mark? Continue reading Is a Zlatan return a good thing?
Tweets, Instagram posts, countless paper articles and a mere sum of $100M have gotten Manchester United Paul Pogba back through the doors at Old Trafford.
In the past three seasons, United have spent excess amounts of funds on players such as Falcao, Angel Di Maria and Anthony Martial; the latter being the only successful purchase. The big spending promised so much but achieved so little.
But this season is different.
Which position should Pogba play?
Whatever country you live in; whatever team you support; every pub you walk into, Paul Pogba and Manchester United are the words after every pint. Now, the challenge for the Manchester United manager is where to utilise his Marquee signing.
There is no doubt Paul Pogba is a central midfielder. History in the Premier league will show a dominant midfielder can play a large role to success. Paul Scholes was a great for Manchester United, but every Red Devils fan will tell you we have been missing ‘something’ since the departure of Roy Keane.
A midfielder to run through a defence; to pick out a pass to break a compressed defence; the ability to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and lead your team to triumph; this is the challenge that is presented to Paul Pogba.
The success of Manchester City’s recent accolades can be attributed to Yaya Toure being hailed as the lynchpin that allowed Aguero, Silva and co. to have a confidence to be ready whenever a ball was there to be taken, because Yaya Toure is a winner.
It is now Paul Pogba’s time to return the favour to our ‘noisy neighbours’.
Pogba is the complete midfielder
Paul Pogba can provide United with the unpredictability that was seriously lacking under Louis Van Gaal as he has the ability to not only pick out a pass but is capable of scoring a goal out of nothing.
Of any midfielder in Serie A last season, the 23 year-old led the way with 12 goals and 10 assists respectively. For a player who did not require a high level of work rate, these are phenomenal numbers.
The speed of the Premier league will entice Pogba’s athletic ability to be exposed to the United faithful. His pace and strength will provide a constant threat and figure for the Reds; a figure missing for over 10 years.
There have been suggestions that Pogba can be operated in a no.10 position; however, why would you want to nullify a player so physically imposing, simply to score goals?
The Frenchman is the complete midfielder. As majestic as he is in the final third, he will be the presence in midfield when teams try to run through the Red Devil’s wall.
We finally got our man, and he might just win us the league.
By Larry Taylor,
David De Gea has solidified his stance as Manchester United’s best player and arguably the world’s best goal keeper after securing Manchester United’s Player of the Year award for the 3rd consecutive season. This accolade follows the Spaniard being named as the PFA goalkeeper of the year, proving his deserved ranking in football.
De Gea has been nothing short of heroic this season. As recently as the F.A Cup semi-final, he saved a penalty goal attempt by Everton striker Romelu Lukaku when the game was 1-0, which United went on to win in stoppage time.
The 25 year-old has come a long way from the scrawny, frantic goal-keeper who fumbled and bumbled in his first season at the club. David De Gea has an aura: He is huge in between the sticks and his very presence causes players to hesitate as they approach goal. Regardless of what happens this season, there’s no doubt United must do everything in their power to keep the Spaniard at the club.
With a goal keeper rightfully taking acclaim to Manchester United’s Player of the year award, it also presents an issue with what is being portrayed in front of the sticks.
Manchester United have scored 43 goals this season; equal with 15th placed Bournemouth, making them the 11th for goals scored in the English premier league.
More damning is the Red Devils ineffectiveness at creating chances, the 4th worst in the league.
Their struggles in attack can be attributed to United’s inconsistent and conservative style of football under Louis Van Gaal. Constantly, we hear the Dutchman speak of his “philosophy”, yet it is difficult to associate a certain style with the Reds.
United’s saving grace has been their defence; only Tottenham have conceded less. However, given the depth United play with in addition with their almost faultless goalkeeper, this does not come as a surprise.
Generally, the club have deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation and have honored the formation to the core. United need to adopt a playing style that frees a midfielder to sit back, allowing the other to push forward on a consistent basis to create and score goals.
There also needs to be freedom given to the attacking players to weave and roam in order to pull a set defense out of position. United have been very static at times this season and this has allowed teams to play defensively, sit deep and generally leave with a result, Leicester City being the most recent example.
What is also evident is the lack of genuine quality and genuine goal scorers in the Manchester United side. Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney are United’s highest goal scorers in the premier league with 9 and 7 goals respectively. In comparison, Leicester’s winning duo of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez have 22 and 17 goals this season while Manchester City’s Aguero has 23 goals next to his name.
An established striker who can score goals consistently has been a void since Robin Van Persie’s inaugural season at the club. The Netherlands striker scored 28 goals which coincided with Manchester United winning their 20th and last premier league title
Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are brilliant talents and will potentially be world class strikers for Manchester United, but a club of the stature and financial power cannot rely on young players to get them success.
Memphis Depay has also had an inconsistent season; though, like many European players before him, an improvement is expected next season.
With a change in playing style and personnel, United can bring the swagger that used to make the Old Trafford faithful sing.
David De Gea is absolute class; but after 3 seasons, it is time Manchester United started placing an emphasis on the opposition’s net.
Your Aussie Correspondent,
Larry – The United Stand.
Even the most avid Louis Van Gaal fan would struggle to reel off a list of things he has got right during his time in charge. It is no secret that his near two years in charge, this season in particular, has been dire to say the least but, if there is one thing that he certainly is not guilty of, it is sticking to the club tradition of blooding youngsters into the first team squad.
The more skeptical of us may believe that this is due to the squad being unnecessarily thin whilst LVG himself claims that he deliberately scaled down the squad in order to bring in youth players. Whatever the truth is, recent weeks have seen some much improved performances on the pitch, with the recent emergence of Marcus Rashford proving to be the real highlight.
In truth, the writing was on the wall from the very beginning of LVG’s tenure, having included Jesse Lingard and Tyler Blackett in his very first matchday squad in 2014. Since then, a further 12 academy players have made their debuts for the club, with some of those beginning to become a regular presence around the squad.
Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, at 19-years-old, looks like he has massive potential and has recorded some steady performances within the back four this season. Tim Fosu-Mensah made his debut as a substitute in the recent win over Arsenal, before starting the subsequent game against Watford where he put in a decent shift. And then there is the aforementioned Marcus Rashford. In only three games for United, the youngster has already been sounded out for an England call-up and been touted as ‘the next big thing’.
Granted, it is far too early to claim that Rashford will indeed turn out to be a top player, we have been here before after all (Macheda anyone?), but the early indications are positive, with the well-documented doubles against FC Midtjylland and Arsenal propelling him from the unknown to household name.
The most frustrating aspect of the youngsters utilised to date by LVG is the under-use of Andreas Pereira. The 20-year-old is seen by many as the crown jewel of United’s academy but has seemingly been overlooked on occasion by Van Gaal. What is more frustrating is that the Brazilian is being overlooked by Jesse Lingard who, as another academy graduate given his debut under the Dutchman, has produced moments of brilliance and mediocrity in equal measure. It is widely known around Old Trafford that many fans would like to see Pereira given more of an opportunity over the coming months, with many sensing he could prove to be as big a loss as Paul Pogba if he was to decide his future lay away from the club.
Louis Van Gaal has always stated that when he leaves the club he will leave it in a better state than when he arrived. As recent as three weeks ago that was hard to believe. However, these claims are now becoming easier to understand. Of course, any manager could have come in and spent what the Dutchman has, and more than likely delivered some silverware, but what LVG is achieving is a squad which could be able to compete for the next 10 years. It is far too early to launch any ‘class of 92’ comparisons but the latest class could be one that helps the club begin to reach the levels that we are all used to and expect.