Paul Pogba Propels United To Premier League Summit
Despite two shambolic decisions, one by VAR, a Paul Pogba volley has secured a 1-0 win for Manchester United at Burnley, and propelled the Old Trafford club to a three point lead at the top of the Premier League ahead of a showdown with Liverpool at Anfield this Sunday.
Things were not looking good for the league-leaders when two VAR decisions inexplicably went against the Red Devils.
First, Edinson Cavani was fouled by Robbie Brady when he was through on goal. Brady was given a yellow card, and VAR was called into action to see if it should have been changed to a red for denying a goal scoring opportunity. What should have been a nailed-on sending off was bizarrely overturned, with Luke Shaw then booked for a foul on Johann Gudmundsson earlier in the build up.
Then moments later United should have been a goal ahead, as captain Harry Maguire climbed high for a stunning headed goal, only to see it ruled out for an apparent push on Erik Pieters. For reasons only referee Kevin Friend knows, the decision was not referred to VAR, leaving the United bench furious.
However, cometh the moment cometh the man, with Paul Pogba showing in the 71st minute why United paid a then-world record fee for the midfielder with a wonderfully taken volley.
Sadly these match-winning moments have been few and far between from the mercurial Frenchman, but with United riding the crest of a wave and Pogba looking in the mood, the scene has been set for a fantastic battle at Anfield.
“We knew if we win we would be top of the league when we play Liverpool,” Pogba said. “We have to keep calm, now it is the big moment. We will see what is going to happen.
“It will be a beautiful game for everyone. A big game coming up so let’s get ready for it.”
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was full of praise for his midfield maestro, underlining his importance to the club as the title challenge that won’t be called a title challenge begins.
“I’ve always said Paul is a big player for us,” said Solskjaer. “He is a good character in the dressing room, he is always the one the lads look to and he’s a world champion of course, and I think he’s at his best at the moment.”
“What a brilliant position to be in. We know it’s going to be hard but we’re ready and hungry which is good and we couldn’t have asked for a better time to go there.
“We go there knowing we’re playing the best team by a mile in the country in the last year and a half. We’re looking forward to it and it’s a great test of where we’re at against a good team.
“Of course we know we’re going to the champions, they’ve had an unbelievable three-and-a-half seasons so we know that’s going to be a difficult game for us but we’re ready for it.”
While much has been made of United’s improvement this season, and the fact they are still in the hunt in the Premier League for the first time since 2013, for a club of their stature and pedigree it is time to make a statement and win at Anfield to prove they are back amongst the Premier League elite.