UEFA Champions League: Man Utd v Juventus - Were Pogba's deficiencies covered up at Juve?

Last Updated

As the third matchday of the UEFA Champions League approaches, one fixture that will be the cynosure of all eyes will be Italian champions Juventus' trip to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United. 

While Cristiano Ronaldo's return to his old stomping ground will garner the headlines, there is also an interesting sub-plot concerning Paul Pogba. The French midfielder will be lining up against his former team for the first time after leaving Turin for Manchester United in the summer of 2016.

The World Cup-winning midfielder enjoyed a brilliant spell while at Juventus which saw him being linked with a host of top clubs across Europe. It would be the Red Devils who would eventually land his signature for a then world-record fee of £89.3 million. 

He was expected to elevate Mourinho's team by reprising his stunning form for Juventus which saw him churn out terrific displays in midfield. 

However, Pogba has come under the scanner at Old Trafford and has largely frustrated and delighted fans in equal measure, thanks to his inconsistent performances. He has looked far from the world beater he looked destined to become during his stint in Turin. 

While there is no doubt about his creative abilities, his discipline and ability to inspire his team have been questioned at Manchester United. 

Paul Pogba Manchester United 2018-19

At Juventus, he had the freedom of playing as part of a highly talented midfield with the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio. What it did was take away all defensive responsibilities off the Frenchman who was left to express himself creatively. 

Moreover, senior professionals like Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli, Carlos Tevez were always around to keep Pogba's indulgences on and off the ball in check. 

Paul Pogba Andrea Pirlo Juventus v Barcelona Champions League final 2015

At Manchester United, that has not been the case. He is the leading figure at Old Trafford and expected to be the X-factor that the team has lacked for years, possibly ever since Robin van Persie's first season back in 2012-13. 

He has shown tactical indiscipline that has often meant that deploying him in a midfield pivot has backfired for Jose Mourinho and the Frenchman's strong-headedness has not helped either. This leaves one wondering if Pogba's frailties were just masked at Juventus, thanks to the stellar cast around him rather than it being something that has crept into his game overnight. 

Article continues below

Even against Chelsea over the weekend, he was the culprit behind the first goal but later he started imposing himself as United overturned the deficit. 

Pogba will be looking to prove that is not the case as his former team comes to Old Trafford. It certainly is set to be a cracker of a contest. 

Find out how to watch this fixture in SouthEast Asia.