The Frenchman, once again, was simply everywhere in midfield, constantly acting as a source of trouble for David Moyes’ side with a series of rampaging runs and powerful passes.
A look at his numbers from the game illustrates the domineering nature of his performance.
Paul Pogba's game by numbers vs. Sunderland:
83% pass accuracy
3 tackles won
Ran the show pic.twitter.com/9zdrvozoea
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 26, 2016
In the end, it was pretty routine. A 3-1 win, extending Man United’s unbeaten run to 11 games and their winning run to five. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan will take the headlines for their late heroics: the Swede claimed a goal and an assist in the space of five minutes, whilst Mkhitaryan netted a scorpion the kick that sent the watching world into a state of awe.
But it is worth remembering that United struggled during the early stages, often handing Victor Anichebe too much room and failing to create any meaningful chances going forward. Mourinho needed a spark, a surge of impetus, and it came from Pogba.
The Frenchman begun to burst forward, launching passes all over the pitch and drawing people into the game, displaying that unique ability to generate pressure through his sheer power and skill going forward alone. Such an influence led to United’s opener, and they never looked back.