Saturday 24 February 2018

The passing stats that show how important Paul Pogba is in a new era for Manchester United

Manchester United's Paul Pogba celebrates with the EFL trophy
Manchester United's Paul Pogba celebrates with the EFL trophy

Jack Austin

The jury may still be out on Paul Pogba’s contributions to Manchester United’s season, with Jamie Carragher this week claiming it was Zlatan Ibrahimovic, rather than the Frenchman, who was “carrying” the club.

Pogba returned to Old Trafford in the summer in a world record £89m deal, just four years after leaving on a free transfer to Juventus and looked bright on his second debut for the club.

The Frenchman took time to settle as Jose Mourinho searched for his best position but has has seven goals and three assists this season.

However, a major criticism of Pogba has been his lack of influence on games against fellow members of the top six, most notably the Manchester derby at the start of the season where City took the early initiative in the title race and the 4-0 drubbing away to Chelsea.

Mourinho has said Pogba needs to add more goals to his game and only three assists for a player with his creativity is viewed by some as a poor return.

Pogba has brought control to the Manchester United midfield though – most notably in the opposition half, where the 23-year-old has become the first player to complete over 1000 passes in the Premier League this season.

A criticism of Louis van Gaal’s United was the lack of forward passing, especially in attacking areas, but Pogba has brought that in abundance and averages 42 passes every 90 minutes in the opposition half, according to data courtesy of EA Sports.

With that, he brings a pass accuracy as high as 83 per cent.

Pogba’s statistic beats that of those considered the league’s best playmakers, such as Mesut Ozil, Eden Hazard and David Silva.

His relationship with fellow summer signing Ibrahimovic is another cause for celebration for the Red Devils, with all three of his Premier League assists being for goals for the former Paris Saint-Germain forward.

(© Independent News Service)

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