Paul Pogba dominated proceedings during Manchester United’s first leg 1-1 draw with Anderlecht in the Europa League quarter-final.
The Frenchman took hold of the encounter from minute one, rampaging across the midfield as Anderlecht – following a promising first ten minutes – quickly faded in influence as the game went on.
He complimented his harassment of Anderlecht’s midfield with a series of pinpoint passes over the top that, with a bit more composure, could have been converted.
His numbers from the game illustrate the complete nature of his performance in Belgium.
Pogba's game by numbers vs. Anderlecht:
67% tackles won
1 key pass
Ran the game. pic.twitter.com/lLdWh3m4Ex
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 13, 2017
It is hard not to feel a tint of bitterness towards Pogba, in spite of a wonderful performance, for failing to convert that one-on-one chance towards the end. That would have killed the tie; as it is, United have a serious job to do at Old Trafford next week.
But nobody can fault the Frenchman’s contribution up to that point. Anderlecht’s approach – tightly packed and relatively high up the pitch – was engineered towards pressurising Man United’s and exploiting the space in behind Michael Carrick with the likes of Youri Tielemans and Massimo Bruno, but every time they went forward Pogba was there to sweep up the ball and reverse the momentum.
It happened time and time again: Anderlecht just couldn’t get the ball off him, and when they did Pogba – miles ahead of anybody in terms of strength, technical prowess and sheer presence – promptly retrieved it. A glimpse, perhaps, of the 24-year-old going up a gear ahead of next season?