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18 Feb 2018 09:28:25
I'm just wondering if anyone thought the same as me watching the game yesterday, and after hearing Jose press conference after as well, made me think it was the case. That formation and the tactics implemented were 100% formed around Pogba (hence him being a big miss) . I was getting frustrated with Sanchez lack of tracking back however I think he was under instruction not too. Jose has said Pogba was going to play on the left and when he was out injured Matic got pushed over to his side. It seemed as if we were playing a 442 formation when out of possession where Pogba would have been positioned on the left hand side.
Consequently, Matic was tasked with playing a role that is uncommon and most certainly not suited to him because he would have also been expected to bomb forward to help with the attack. Something Pogba would be able to do with his athleticism. It's similar to the way Madrid have played at times, although they play it to give Ronaldo more freedom (Sanchez in our case) . Hopefully, it was not just an experiment in a one off game and we deploy it in future games as well. My only concern is we are missing a top cm to control the game beside Matic or at the very least influence one. Hopefully, Herrera can regain some form.

Agree4 Disagree2

18 Feb 2018 10:08:51
Good points Ed, Jose may be the Manager and he gets to call the shots but getting the best out of your players is something he has done previously but appears to be still trying to with his current team. Please gba as a big miss as we had 2 defensive midfi orders and 1 hard worker. There was not a great deal of creativity and right now I’d give Matic a rest and let Carrick sit in front of the back four, he may be getting older but he has a great brain. That leaves us a midfield and forward line of 5 and we have enough talent to make that work. I’m hoping all this clear the air talk has the right outcome.

{Ed004's Note - So do I. I think it is fundamental that we get Pogba and Sanchez playing to the best of their abilities. We need to be building the team around them.}

18 Feb 2018 12:48:12
Totally agree Ed it definitely looked more of a 4-4-2 in the second half with Sanchez playing off Lukaku. I thought we looked very dangerous on the break without really having the players to make that system work. Pogba playing from the left would have made a big difference like you said having the athleticism to get forward and support the attack along with his creativity on the ball.

I actually think Pogba is perfectly suited for that left midfield spot. He has the power and athleticism to get up and down. He can ping cross field passes switching the play, look for the ball over the top for Lukaku or inside into Sanchez. He's a very good dribbler, powerful runner, he can also cross and shoot.

I've watched nearly every single one of Pogba's games since we signed him and I just don't see him as a natural central midfielder. Not in the traditional sense anyway. I think because of his size and physique he's gets labelled with being more a Vieira or Keane type of midfielder when in essence he's much more talented and unique than that. He can do a bit of everything and he's almost in danger of becoming a bit too versatile so we never quite get to see the very best of him.

I see Pogba as more of a natural left midfielder tucked in on the left of a midfield 3 or even 4 and being allowed to dominate that left side of the pitch using his power, engine, dribbling, passing, vision and linking the play. He should play between the middle of the pitch and the left touchline in my opinion. This simplifies his game and he can operate in areas where he is most effective.

I think Jose just needs to tweak the formation to get the best out of everybody. I don't think many will argue that Pogba and Sanchez are our best and most talented players. Both were excellent signings it's now down to Jose to get them playing in a system where they can be most effective and I don't see this being in a 4-2-3-1. certainly not in the biggest games against the best teams.

Of course Pogba can play in a midfield two but I just think in the big games he leaves us vulnerable defensively. We just need to tweak the formation in these games so we still get an effective Pogba whilst maintaining good defensive shape.

{Ed004's Note - I'd just like to see him given the same he role he was given vs Everton away each week. Hopefully, playing him in a consistent position will result in more consistent world class performances that we know he can produce. He has the talent to. That formation should be able to get the best out of both him and Sanchez until the end of season but I think we need to.start pressing a bit higher as a team if we want to see improved performances}

18 Feb 2018 14:11:57
I agree Ed for me the Everton game (second half especially) epitomised everything good about Pogba.

It's strange because when we signed Matic and with Herrera having such a great season last year I assumed we'd just play 4-3-3 in most games with Pogba, Matic and Herrera in midfield.

I think that could be really effective (certainly in big games and away from home) but he's hardly ever used it for some reason. Matic as the holder, Pogba doing what he did against Everton on the left and Herrera playing in his best position on the right where he can play a bit higher pressing the ball and winning it back in dangerous areas.

With the extra man in midfield I assumed this would free Martial to play higher up the pitch and not get dragged back as deep into fullback positions. At the start of the season 4-3-3 just made sense to me.

It's hard to argue at this point that this season hasn't been a success and i'm loathed to over react to a couple of bad results and performances. Ok City have run away with the league but their breaking records as they go. It just feels like there still something missing and whilst results have been good a lot of the performances have been far from convincing, underwhelming and disjointed. We've played some great stuff in patches but I can't remember many occasions where we're been good for the full 90 minutes.

Surely with the likes of De Gea, Bailly, Matic, Pogba, Sanchez, Martial and Lukaku we should run able to play some decent stuff.

I'm a big Jose fan, I think he's assembling a great squad but at this moment in time I'm not convinced he's getting the best out of a very talented group of players.

I just like the team to be built around Pogba rather than trying to shoehorn into a system that maybe doesn't get the best out of him. There is absolutely no doubt that when Pogba plays well he's transforms the way we play and is the biggest influence on the team. I don't understand the reluctance to just free him up a little bit and let him do what he does best.

The next two games are massive and may go along way in defining our season.

{Ed004's Note - I agree with everything you have written and would include Valencia in that list of players as well. It seems we have the perfect squad now to play 433 but we haven't played it enough. Jose has been building a very strong squad and hopefully after a few new faces in the summer we have a settled first choice 11. One of the issues we have is the constant changing of players and formations. I think we need to settle on what our best 11 is and play it consistently. Currently, I think it would be De Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Rojo, Shaw, Matic, Herrera, Pogba, Sanchez (RW), Martial and Lukaku. Although, arguments could be made for Smalling, Jones, Young, Mata and Lingard}

18 Feb 2018 14:50:27
90 % of Huddersfield attack came down our left . Sanchez isn't going to track back all that much so as we saw yesterday we are going to be a bit open on that side.
If pogba plays there he will have to be disciplined.

{Ed004's Note - Sanchez has tracked back in previous games though. I agree that Pogba will have to be disciplined but following usually one runner (the fullback) will hopefully be easier than following multiple players in central positions}

18 Feb 2018 15:37:40
Read last week that in something like 700 games going back to Jose early Chelsea games he had played 433 something like 130 times .
Pogba and Sanchez on the same side looks a bit one sided to me with both wanting to play in similar areas .
You would just attack the areas behind him .
No matter where he plays in midfield he will need to be disciplined.
Pogba played great in that position against Everton awful against Newcastle.
I still think if pogba plays well he plays well regardless of position.

18 Feb 2018 16:52:14
Jred - I read that stat as well which is why I think he'll persist in playing a two man midfield.

I know Jose said that Pogba played to the left of a midfield 3 against Newcastle but if you watched the game he clearly didn't play in that position.

Jose is either implying that Pogba does what he wants and doesn't follow instructions or that he can still have a bad game in his favoured position or that he didn't really play in that position and he's being disingenuous. You can make your own mind up.

To back this up If you look at his heat map against Everton where he clearly played in that position and compare it to his heat map against Newcastle there is a clear and distinctive difference.

I know heat maps don't tell the whole story or can't tell you how well somebody performed but they're very good at illustrating what positions the player occupied on the pitch. If you play on the left of a midfield 3 then you'd expect the heat map to reflect that the majority of the positions taken up on the field we're between the centre of the pitch to the left touch line box to box. This is represented in his heat map against Everton. If he was playing in that position against Newcastle i'd expect to see something similar but it actually showed him all over the pitch with most of the more concentrated areas on the right! (These are easy to find on google) .

If we assure that his favoured position is to the left of a midfield 3 and he knows how to play this position then why didn't he play there against Newcastle and why is Jose insisting that he did? It just doesn't make sense!

18 Feb 2018 15:40:19
I agree Ed but at this moment in time I think I'd play Sanchez left and Mata right . I don't think Sanchez has played wide right since his Barcelona days and when interviewed he named his favoured positions as left or central. I'd be worried we'd be solving one problem with Pogba and creating another with Sanchez. Martial is still young and can do a good job off the bench. I really like Martial but I just think Sanchez offers a bit more at the moment.

Jred - I think that's because Sanchez was playing up front. Matic was supposed to be playing left midfield but that's not his best position and he was still playing a bit narrow. He didn't look comfortable being dragged out of the centre. I totally agree with Ed Pogba would do that role and tracking one runner (full back) should be more straightforward that having people running off him in central areas.

{Ed004's Note - If we intend to play this long-term then we would need a right sided player comfortable playing centrally as well and a lot more from our full backs going forward and providing width. I think it currently suits Mata, Pogba and Sanchez with the roles they currently have and Martial would be my first sub for any of the attacking positions}

18 Feb 2018 17:56:07
Up the Dale for those of us living in North Manchester! What a result and a last minute equaliser! Brilliant for the lads!

18 Feb 2018 18:36:25
Do you think that's why Jose subbed him against Newcastle because he did not do what he was told .
Looked like we where set up to play 433.
I wouldn't be happy if I was pogba and the manager told me to play one position and then told the world's media
“Against Newcastle Paul played in midfield, we had a 6 [Nemanja Matic] and two 8s [Jesse Lingard and Pogba], with Paul on the left-hand side. If you ask Paul what is his preferred formation it is 4-3-3. If you ask him where he likes to play in that formation it is 8, on the left. That is exactly what he was doing against Newcastle. ”.

18 Feb 2018 19:31:39
Jred - I have no idea pal and it's worrying. Pogba knows how to play to the left of a midfield 3 but I don't think he took up positions you'd expect from a player given that role. His heat-map is evidence of this. Why this was I just don't know unless I'm completely wrong and that's where he was playing. It is only my opinion after all and I'm not claiming to be any kind of expert.

There was obviously something not right with Pogba in that Newcastle game! Was he injured? Was he ill? Nobody really knows?

He got subbed and Jose intimated after the game there was no problem and it was tactical. We then hear stories that he was ill. Jose comes out after the game and says he played in his favourite position against Newcastle when in my opinion he didn't take up the positions you'd expect if he was playing that role? A role he knows well and has excelled in.

A few days later Jose comes out in the media, says any rift is bulls*** and he'll play against Huddersfield again in his favoured position. On the morning of the game Pogba doesn't play. Jose says he has no idea why he's out and he doesn't care (maybe taken out of context) then after the game we hear he's ill?

Jose then makes comments about Mctominay deserving more credit and that some players missed out whilst other played so well. He then makes reference to haircuts, tattoos, flash cars, watches etc it all sounded like a swipe at Pogba to me.

I've got no idea what's going on but it's worrying entering a crucial period of the season with Pogba being arguably our most influential player!

If this was Fergi I wouldn't worry so much as he had total control of the dressing room and everybody knew if you crossed him you'd be out. With Jose it's slightly different. He's not known for his longevity at clubs, rumours persist he's not settled in Manchester, he's overtly flirted with PSG and I worry about his control of the dressing room.

It's a dangerous game to take Pogba on especially at this stage of the season. Pogba is an influential member of the squad, we're now precariously placed for top 4 and just about to enter the knockout stages of the Champs League. Other teams are hitting form but we're going the other way. If we don't make top 4 then surely his job is under threat.

I hope this is all being blown out of proportion and I'm taking rubbish as usual but something just doesn't seem right.

18 Feb 2018 21:04:21

United tweeted yesterday morning that Pogba was ill, hectweeted saying he can’t wait to get better. The people who believe the nonsense in the press are the reason they get away with it.

19 Feb 2018 01:45:55
Can't wait to get better at his job. I'll bet Pogba knows he's not playing because he's been inconsistent. He's still learning. He has off days, but Jose is managing him well right now. The Tweets are all for show: public persona pretending to be private. And hey, with a sprinkle of Mourinho, he shifted the conversation onto McTominay, and now not everyone is talking about Pogba. He's a 24 year old man-boy (as most cocooned 24 year old guys are, with the expectations of, allegedly, up to half billion people on his shoulders, and maybe at least as many who would see him fail. He's not the finished article. How old was Zidane before he won a major international tournament?

{Ed0333's Note - good post mate. I also agree he has the expectation of Aftica on his soldiers which is a colossal burden. He’ll come good soon he’s too talented not too. I’m not sure he’ll win ballon D’ors consistently though.

19 Feb 2018 09:43:32

Every single paper is still all about Pogba today and how he has had a dressing room BUST-UP with Jose, so not sure it has worked.

20 Feb 2018 05:58:25
Thanks Ed0333.

GDS, journalists need to write things to sell papers. They need to turn tiffs into arguments, and create storms in teacups. They use exclamation marks, absolutes, and extremes. The media get you wound up, because that's how they get you to consume more media. But really, it's 90% made up. Take it with a pinch of salt. Writing about Paul Pogba having an off day is going to sell your paper. Take it with a pinch of salt, mate.

{Ed0333's Note - I’m an ex sports and celebrity journalist Arnie I know full well the inner workings of how the media work mate. I appreciate aare part and parcel of the industry but I think in the case of Pogba everyone agrees he needs to be doing more to justify his talent and hype.



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