Aston Villa visited Old Trafford to face a rejuvenated Manchester United and a Pogba that is “getting better”. United did not hesitate to win the league game 2-1 to go level on point with first-placed Liverpool.
To the dismay of many football fans especially the critics of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who thought the club would struggle to remain above the bottom 10 until the coach is sacked, United found a way to bounce back stronger from the 6-1 demolition they suffered in the hands of Tottenham on October 4 to suffer just a 1-0 defeat in the hands of Arsenal in 13 league games.
This astounding run of good form couple with the inconsistency of other clubs above them especially Liverpool drove Manchester United from below the table to the top four in less than 6 games.
From September until the end of October, no one predicted that Manchester United would perform so well that they would become a league title contender especially after crashing out of this season’s UEFA Champions League. But their eight wins in their last 10 league games have made all the difference.
However, Manchester United’s new year’s day league game against Aston Villa was all about one of the most criticized members of the club, Pogba. His consistency under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been highlighted on many platforms. But yesterday’s game was purely Pogba’s day and Solskjaer wants the world to know that is best is yet to come.
The 27-year-old France international made 11 touches in Aston Villa’s box which was his joint highest in a Premier League game. The Frenchman completed 37 passes out of 48 and won 10 duels out of 19.
More so, Paul Pogba made 5 aerial duels in 7 attempts and gained possession 6 times. He created two chances, made four shots, and won a penalty for United which Bruna Fernandes scored in the 61st minute to end the game 2-1 in favor of United.
“Where Paul is getting fitter and stronger, you get performances like tonight,” Solskjaer said after the game. “He maybe 25 minutes to get going, but once he got going, he made a difference for us.
“We’re happy with his contribution. We must get Paul on the ball, whether it’s low in the pitch or higher in between the lines.
“I know he started wide while defending, but we wanted him to make runs in behind and get on the ball. His physical presence is important for us because we knew they are one of the strongest sides physically in the league.
“We needed players to match them and Paul showed his strength and skill for Anthony’s goal. Tonight I was delighted with his performance.”
Manchester United’s 2-1 victory over Aston Villa has pushed United to the second spot with 33 points in 16 league games. Their next league game is against Burnley on January 12.