The jury may still be out on Paul Pogba’s contributions to Manchester United’s season, with Jamie Carragher this week claiming it was Zlatan Ibrahimovic, rather than the Frenchman, who was “carrying” the club.
Pogba returned to Old Trafford in the summer in a world record £89m deal, just four years after leaving on a free transfer to Juventus and looked bright on his second debut for the club.
The Frenchman took time to settle as Jose Mourinho searched for his best position but has has seven goals and three assists this season.
EFL Cup final ratings
EFL Cup final ratings
1/22 David de Gea - 7 out of 10
Had no answer to Gabbiadini's strikes, but made good first half saves to deny Tadic and Ward-Prowse.
2/22 Antonio Valencia - 6 out of 10
Was given a difficult afternoon by Redmond, but utilised his experience as the game grew old.
3/22 Eric Bailly - 6 out of 10
A shaky start in which he was troubled by Bertrand's pace. Another who improved in the second half.
4/22 Chris Smalling - 7 out of 10
Had his hands full with Gabbiadini, but demonstrated fine positioning and awareness.
5/22 Marcos Rojo - 5 out of 10
Uncomfortable at left-back although he was pivotal in laying on Lingard's goal.
6/22 Ander Herrera - 8 out of 10
Oozes class at times, emphasised by his pinpoint cross for the winner. Occasionally guilty of chasing the game.
7/22 Paul Pogba - 6 out of 10
Fielded in a deeper midfield role, his bursting runs were impressive but few and far between.
8/22 Juan Mata - 5 out of 10
Saw little action and was replaced at the break for the more positioned-minded Carrick.
9/22 Jesse Lingard - 6 out of 10
Kept a cool head to score another Wembley goal, but almost lost it when fouling Redmond when on a yellow card.
10/22 Anthony Martial - 5 out of 10
Kept under wraps by Cedric for long periods, his deliveries were questionable.
11/22 Zlatan Ibrahimovic - 9 out of 10
The biggest man for the big occasion. Started and ended the scoring to win his first major trophy for Manchester United.
12/22 Fraser Forster - 5 out of 10
Questioned for his positioning for Ibrahimovic's free-kick, there was little he could do with the other two United goals.
13/22 Cedric - 7 out of 10
Lacked discipline at times, but impressed when on the attack and delivering from the right.
14/22 Jack Stephens - 6 out of 10
Yellow carded for a tough challenge on Martial, the youngster competed fiercely.
15/22 Maya Yoshida - 6 out of 10
Executed a great tackle to deny Lingard. Occasionally allowed his opponents too much space in the area.
16/22 Ryan Bertrand - 8 out of 10
Like Cedric on the other flank, the full-back was excellent in getting forward and crossing at pace.
17/22 Oriol Romeu - 7 out of 10
Competed well against Herrera, and almost won the tie himself with a header that crashed against the post.
18/22 Steven Davis - 8 out of 10
The captain was a delight in midfield. He held his position well and was at the heart of Southampton's best play.
19/22 Nathan Redmond - 7 out of 10
An exciting talent but too often tried to be hero, shooting when teammates were better placed.
20/22 Dusan Tadic - 7 out of 10
Had a habit of finding pockets of space between United's defence and midfield in which he could show off his close control.
21/22 James Ward-Prowse - 8 out of 10
Wonderful distribution, particularly from dead ball situations. Able to weight passes beautifully.
22/22 Manolo Gabbiadini - 9 out of 10
Southampton's new hero scored twice and had another incorrectly ruled out. Deserved to end the match as a cup winner.
However, a major criticism of Pogba has been his lack of influence on games against fellow members of the top six, most notably the Manchester derby at the start of the season where City took the early initiative in the title race and the 4-0 drubbing away to Chelsea.
Mourinho has said Pogba needs to add more goals to his game and only three assists for a player with his creativity is viewed by some as a poor return.
|Player||Team||Age||Passes completed (opp half)||Pass completion % (opp half)|
|Paul Pogba||Manchester United||23||1029||83.05%|
|David Silva||Manchester City||31||930||86.27%|
|Ander Herrera||Manchester United||27||871||84.73%|
Pogba has brought control to the Manchester United midfield though – most notably in the opposition half, where the 23-year-old has become the first player to complete over 1000 passes in the Premier League this season.
A criticism of Louis van Gaal’s United was the lack of forward passing, especially in attacking areas, but Pogba has brought that in abundance and averages 42 passes every 90 minutes in the opposition half, according to data courtesy of EA Sports.
With that, he brings a pass accuracy as high as 83 per cent.
Pogba’s statistic beats that of those considered the league’s best playmakers, such as Mesut Ozil, Eden Hazard and David Silva.
His relationship with fellow summer signing Ibrahimovic is another cause for celebration for the Red Devils, with all three of his Premier League assists being for goals for the former Paris Saint-Germain forward.Reuse content