Paul Pogba is the guy that makes Man U go according to The Daily Mail.
On Monday night, he ran the show against Stoke, helping his team to a 3-0 win. You may not see his name on the scoresheet, but he is becoming king of the assist. Two more this week took his tally to nine for the season.
In fact, most of the stats are in his favour. Be it passes, tackles, chances created… you name it, he can do it, and he is only getting better.
After the win against Stoke, Mourinho was quick to praise his main man. United are moulding to the Frenchman, and becoming his team.
‘He was moving the ball fantastically well, with long passes changing the direction and creating problems for the opponent,’ Mourinho said.
‘He had an assist and if he had scored the free-kick with the last shot of the game, it would be really a reward for him.
‘I think he is happy with the way the team is playing and he’s happy because the team is changing the profile and the profile is going more in his direction.’
United’s system changes often, but if Pogba is injury-free then he will be at the heart of it. He has been given a new role, further forward. With more time and space on the ball, he is able to create and roam.
And he said as much after the game: ‘I can use more of my ability, my attributes, to go forward, to use my power, shoot, try to make an assist. I think it suits me more.’
Let’s take a look at the stats. In terms of Premier League players, nobody has more assists than Pogba this season. Leroy Sane and Kevin De Bruyne are level, but both have played far more games.
In fact, in all of Europe’s top five leagues there is not one player with more assists. He is in the top 10 for passes per game, too. An average of 69.2 puts him above Cesc Fabregas and on the same level as Mesut Ozil.
Delving into the United squad, it is much the same. Passes into the final third, only Nemanja Matic is ahead of him… and yes, the Serbian has played 10 more games.
Only Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have created more chances, despite the Frenchman’s lack of football. He is right up there for tackles, too.
There is no cherry-picking here, no being selective to suit a pro-Pogba agenda. It’s just how it is. Every stat this season seems to be in his favour, and he is improving by the game.
He has nearly gone 38 games without defeat, the equivalent of an entire Premier League season.
Manchester City may have taken all the plaudits this season, but just down the road Pogba is quietly going about his business.
Three more games – Burnley, Tottenham, Huddersfield – and he will have got there. Take that, Pep.