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Pogba back in shape ahead of decisive March

Pogba at Manchester United is 226 games (40 goals). PETER POWELL / REUTERS

Back on the pitch after his hamstring injury, Paul Pogba has shown resplendent form in his last matches and will be eagerly awaited for this Sunday’s derby against Manchester City.

Paul Pogba’s 2021-2022 season is like the weather in Manchester: gray, cloudy and sometimes even foggy as the future of the world champion has been unclear for a few months. Last summer, when he only had one year left on his contract with United, several major European teams (Paris SG, Real Madrid and Juventus) tried to sign him, without success. This Sunday, the midfielder travels to the Ethiad Stadium to challenge his lifelong rival, Manchester City, on his way to a 4th English league title in 5 years. A key match for the French who could take advantage of this fine poster to revive the season, probably the last in Manchester.

It is often said that it is difficult to get back to work when your head is elsewhere, yet that is what the French will do, regardless of aborted transfers. Author of a great start to the season with 7 assists in 4 matches, the “Pickaxe” impresses, but this state of grace will only have a time as often with the French.

SEE ALSO – Paul Pogba’s best goals at Juventus Turin

A nightmarish end of the year at the theater of dreams

The draw against Young Boys Bern in the Champions League (1-1) is in a way the first act of a very complicated period for the Red Devils and more particularly for Pogba who can no longer make the difference. Despite the difficulties, he kept the confidence of Didier Deschamps with whom he won the League of Nations in October (1-2 against Spain) but in Manchester the situation is getting worse day by day. The Red Devils chained the bad results, and won only one league match between September 25 and November 20.

If until then Pogba found comfort with the Blues, this parenthesis will also darken suddenly. On November 9, when the Blues were preparing to face Kazakhstan, the former Turinese left Clairefontaine prematurely, hit in the right thigh. “Everything happens for a reason.he wrote on Instagram. His injury keeps him away from the pitch until the end of the year but also from Manchester, since the Frenchman is leaving for Dubai for a few days, an opportunity for him to clear his mind and take stock of his situation. .

At the same time, big changes are taking place at Manchester United. On November 21, the club announced the departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and inducted the German Ralf Rangnick in his place. Very quickly, the former Schalke 04 coach wanted to clarify ideas with Pogba and exchanged a long time with him. “He is committed until the end of the season. He explained to me that he wanted to be the best Paul Pogba possible, he announced at a press conference. What I saw in training yesterday was incredible. Now it’s all about showing it off and seeing it all on the pitch once it’s fully released.»

A comeback in 2022

Back in business for the FA Cup match between United and Middlesbrough, Pogba completed 80 minutes of very good quality and even caused a penalty (missed by Cristiano Ronaldo). But despite the efforts of the “Pickaxe”, Boro does not crack and manages to qualify on penalties. “Not the result we wanted but I’m happy to be back on the scoresheet“Consoles the Frenchman who, beyond the result, seems absolutely to want to keep a promise to Ralf Rangnick: to show the best Pogba possible.

Pogba had not scored a goal with Manchester United since April 29 against AS Roma. CRAIG BROUGH / REUTERS

The following matches will only confirm this idea. In the Premier League, he enlightened a United team still in the running-in with his genius. With 87% successful dribbling, the Frenchman is elusive. He scored a sumptuous goal against Burnley and offered ten key assists in 7 games (only one of them led to a goal). The only hiccup, the Champions League: Manchester United snatches a draw against Atlético Madrid where the Frenchman is upstaged by a great night Geoffrey Kondogbia.

It is in this context that the 187th Manchester Derby is looming this Sunday, the preface to a decisive chapter of the Red Devils season which then faces Tottenham, Atlético, Liverpool and Leicester. An intense calendar where “the best possible Pogbawill be eagerly awaited and not only at United since the France team will also be back for two friendly matches against Côte d’Ivoire (March 25) and South Africa (March 29), the first meeting of a year 2022 which will perhaps end in the final of the World Cup in Qatar.



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