‘Pogba Does Not Really Understand The Game’

Ex-Republic of Ireland international Eamon Dunphy has stated that Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba “doesn’t understand the game” in the aftermath of the 1-1 draw with Arsenal at the weekend. 

In a match the Red Devils dominated and went ahead in through Juan Mata, the Gunners grabbed a late equaliser via Olivier Giroud, who thumped a header home after some fine wing play from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. 

Marcus Rashford was criticised for allowing Oxlade-Chamberlain past late in the game, although Dunphy believes Pogba could have done more to help out.

“[Pogba] should have been giving [Rashford] cover, he didn’t bother, he just stood there because he doesn’t really understand the game,” the controversial pundit told 2fm (h/t Goal). “The ball was crossed to the far post and [Giroud] had a simple task. It was a very bad goal to give away.”

The MailOnline Twitter feed captured the key points in Giroud’s equaliser, with Pogba the man in closest proximity to the teenager as he sought to stop Oxlade-Chamberlain:

Opinion has been divided on whether Rashford could have done more, or whether he should have been aided by team-mates. Sports journalist Rupert Fryer can see both points of view:

While there’s credence to both sides of the debate, Dunphy’s assessment of Pogba, who joined United from Juventus for a world-record fee in the summer, seems a harsh one after one of his best performances of the campaign.

Following on from his stunning goal against Swansea City in a 3-1 win for the Red Devils, there was an assurance about Pogba against a combative Arsenal midfield. The 23-year-old drove forward with the ball, kept his passing simple and was a key creative outlet for the team in the final third.

Admittedly, since his move back to the Premier League, Pogba has underwhelmed overall. But despite his inconsistent beginning to life at Old Trafford, Bleacher Report’s Paul Ansorge rates the United No. 6 highly indeed:

While Pogba still may need to refine his game off the ball in terms of his defensive tenacity and discipline, it’s evident he has a fine understanding of how to thrive in the middle and final third. For Juventus, he was a major attacking threat, helping the team win four Serie A titles; last term he finished up with eight goals and 12 assists in league matches.

He may not have brought those standards to Old Trafford quite yet, but as Squawka Football noted ahead of the game against Arsenal, Pogba has been the at the hub of Jose Mourinho’s side:

At Juventus Pogba did play alongside some wonderful midfielders. Indeed, the quality and experience of men like Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal, Claudio Marchisio and Sami Khedira meant he rarely had to worry about the defensive side of the game.
With United, and especially under a manager like Mourinho, that’s a facet of his football he’ll need to develop. There’ll be a clamour for that process to come quickly given the fee paid for the midfielder, but it’ll take time.

Dunphy is no stranger to strong comments and has left football fans scratching their heads with some suggestions in the past. As noted by Robert Redmond of SportsJoe.ie, he told the RTE studio in October that Barcelona star Lionel Messi “is beginning to show signs of decline”; the Blaugrana went on to beat Manchester City 4-0, with the forward netting a memorable hat-trick.


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