A Ross Barkley goal deep into stoppage time prevented Manchester United from taking all three points at Chelsea as the clash of the two teams at Stamford Bridge ended 2-2. Contributing writer, Nathan Quao, puts down some of the takeaways from the encounter.
Pogba Inconsistent Again
Manchester United’s most expensive player has always found himself right in the middle of the conversations around the team. Whether it is the need to attack more score more or dominating teams in the middle of the park, Paul Pogba is present and in the last few weeks, these conversations have been around.
Against Chelsea, the French World Cup winner gave his critics another opportunity to doubt him. After strugglint to impose himself, his lack of awareness of his defensive work allowed Antonio Rudiger to nod Chelsea into the lead after 20 minutes.
Some can make an argument that he may have handed that responsibility to Victor Lindelof but that was clearly a wrong decision. Not seeing the danger put Man United into a dark place when the first half had gone fairly well.
Pogba did improve in the second half and contributed his quota to the charge that placed the Red Devils into the lead until Barkley struck.
It is understood that there are huge expectations on Pogba’s shoulders but if he will be the player many believe he can be, then he needs to give off a lot more on very regular basis. He cannot afford to have good games once in a while. His own reputation and the team’s success depend on him and he must see that very quickly now.
Red Devils Show Life
After a largely timid first half, Man United woke up and went for whatever they could find and that was very welcome.
The passing was better, there was more commitment and there was hunger in the display. Even the tackles were flying in and Ashley Young got one on Eden Hazard.
The attack came to life and the work of Juan Mata in the two goals scored by Anthony Martial was very important.
He kept probing and his persistence was very remarkable and assuring especially after his role in the comeback win against Newcastle and he must seek to give more of that going forward in relation to the challenging matches on the horizon.
The likes of Luke Shaw and Victor Lindelof scored good marks in their output against opponents like Eden Hazard and Alvaro Morata and they will have to keep going in the same vein.
But away from the positives, the team should sharpen its killer instincts. Chelsea looked open and vulnerable and that was the time to extend the lead and secure an important victory. Too many points are being dropped and the consequences could be very dire later in the season.
Forward march now
Two points lost but a statement of a sort has been made and the momentum must be kept and transferred to the to the next match.
There seems to be an indication of a fighting spirit in the team and that needs to be built and strengthened. Juventus come to Old Trafford next and then, there is a tie against Manchester City a little further down the line.
Add matches against Everton and Bournemouth and the schedule looks tough. That is the more reason why the positives need to be highlighted to create a happy feeling. When there is confidence and a positive vibe, mistakes that created by nerves will vanish and the victories will appear.
Undoubtedly, the run will be very tough but victories can be gained if the players and the manager want it that way.
Talking about the manager, he could possibly face an FA charge of improper conduct after the melee at Stamford Bridge but then, his post-game reaction was good and contained.
No dramatic answers and quips. Man United need to find a rallying point around the incident and use it to inspire themselves for the future.