Sunday, October 20, 2019

Man United: Why it is time for Pogba to pass up on penalties

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 19 Aug 2019

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Manchester United were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at Wolves after Paul Pogba had a second-half penalty saved by Rui Patricio at Molineux.

Ruben Neves’ sublime 55th-minute strike cancelled out Anthony Martial’s opener but Pogba had a golden chance to take the points when he was brought down by Conor Coady.

At that point, confusion reigned. Marcus Rashford, who rifled in from the spot during last weekend’s 4-0 win over Chelsea, willingly gave up the ball to Pogba after a short conversation.

“This is a Manchester United penalty, not a tombola!” club great Gary Neville shrieked while reviewing the incident on Sky Sports. “Something’s not right!”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer explained afterwards that both Rashford and Pogba were designated takers but, as the numbers show, United’s chances of victory took a dive the moment their record signing grasped the nettle.

Pogba’s penalty conversion percentage of 63.6 is the sixth lowest in Premier League history out of players to have taken 10 or more.

Only Juan Pablo Angel, Riyad Mahrez, Steed Malbranque, Dwight Yorke and Kevin Phillips have fared worse than the France international’s seven out of 11.

Although he boasts two from two in the Champions League, Pogba’s four Premier League misses since the start of last season is the most of any player in the competition.

By contrast, Rashford has scored every penalty he has stepped up to take in his junior and senior career.

The England international converted against the Netherlands in the Nations League finals in June before succeeding in a third-place match shoot-out versus Switzerland. Those exploits are sandwiched by nerveless efforts for the Red Devils against Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea.

Rashford previously scored two penalties for United in the UEFA Youth League and one for England Under-21s.

Martial scored his 50th goal in United colours on Monday and four of those have come from the penalty spot.

In fact, Pogba’s compatriot has only missed once for the club from 12 yards, during a 2-0 Champions League win over Benfica in October 2017.

The evidence suggests it is time for United’s midfield superstar to pass on the responsibility for good.

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