Manchester United taught Marcelo Bielsa another valuable lesson at Old Trafford on Saturday evening, as the Red Devils ran rampant in front of boisterous support to the tune of a 5-1 thrashing of Leeds, with Paul Pogba right in the thick of the action, to a record-equalling level.
4 – Paul Pogba is the 7th different player to register four assists in a single Premier League match, and the first Man Utd player to do so. The Frenchman made just three assists in his 26 league games in total last season. Fantastic. #MUNLEE
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 14, 2021
Bruno Fernandes was back at the whole goal-scoring thing to kick off the season emphatically for Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s men, bagging a hat-trick in 60-minutes, while Mason Greenwood and Fred added other body blows that saw Leeds tuck tail and run back to Elland Road in a performance that did them no favors.
But Fernandes’ trio of goals was not the most impressive feat on the night. Instead, Pogba stole the show with a four-assist effort that allowed him to rise amongst esteemed company.
Before even registering his fourth assist of the afternoon, the mercurial French international became only the eighth United player to collect three assists in a Premier League match, with Antonio Valencia being the most recent to achieve the same back in December 2011.
However, this performance could end up going down as Pogba’s all-time best in the famous red kit, with a recent update on his contract situation, coming by way of BBC Sports’ Simon Stone, confirming that there are now only two pathways the midfielder can take regarding his second stint at the club.
Negotiations will therefore continue over Paul Pogba’s future, with the long-accepted options narrowed to two. Either Pogba leaves next summer as a free agent or he signs a lucrative extension and stays with Manchester United. (@sistoney67) #MUFC
— United Update (@UnitedsUpdate) August 14, 2021
Stone was quoted by United Update stating that negotiations over his contract situation have closed off all avenues but two; a lucrative extension or Pogba leaving as a free agent come the end of the season.
Potentially losing a player of Pogba’s calibre and influence on a free seems to be the way of things in football at the minute, with the likes of Lionel Messi’s forced exile from the Camp Nou and Sergio Ramos jet-setting off to the French capital other prime examples.
Should Pogba not extend, and decide to walk come the end of the season, the long-term focus of the club to get back to winning the Premier League will be dealt a hammer blow, and the tough task of trying to replace a player in the Frenchman who – on his day – is certainly anything but replaceable, will be a daunting one.
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Premier League table
|5||West Ham United||0||0||0|
|19||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||0||0|
|Fernandes, Bruno||Manchester United||3|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||1|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||1|
|Firmino, Roberto||Liverpool FC||1|
|Tarkowski, James||Burnley FC||1|
|Canos, Sergi||Brentford FC||1|
|Norgaard, Christian||Brentford FC||1|
|Ings, Danny||Aston Villa||1|
|Ayling, Luke||Leeds United||1|
|Doucoure, Abdoulaye||Everton FC||1|
|Alonso, Marcos||Chelsea FC||1|
|McGinn, John||Aston Villa||1|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City||1|
|Greenwood, Mason||Manchester United||1|
|MacAllister, Alexis||Brighton & Hove Albion||1|
|Hernandez, Cucho||Watford FC||1|
|Sarr, Ismaila||Watford FC||1|
|Chalobah, Trevoh||Chelsea FC||1|
|Player||Team||Red Cards||Yellow Cards|
|Tarkowski, James||Burnley FC||0||1|
|Doucoure, Abdoulaye||Everton FC||0||1|
|Vardy, Jamie||Leicester City||0||1|
|Maupay, Neal||Brighton & Hove Albion||0||1|
|Marcal, Fernando||Wolverhampton Wanderers||0||1|
|Gudmundsson, Johann||Burnley FC||0||1|
|Kucka, Juraj||Watford FC||0||1|
|Cooper, Liam||Leeds United||0||1|
|Milner, James||Liverpool FC||0||1|
|Shaw, Luke||Manchester United||0||1|
|Sema, Ken||Watford FC||0||1|
|Mings, Tyrone||Aston Villa||0||1|
|Etebo, Oghenekaro||Watford FC||0||1|
|Cantwell, Todd||Norwich City||0||1|
|Hoever, Ki-Jana||Wolverhampton Wanderers||0||1|
|Pogba, Paul||Manchester United||4|
|Salah, Mohamed||Liverpool FC||2|
|Moder, Jakub||Brighton & Hove Albion||2|
|Dennis, Emmanuel||Watford FC||1|
|Cleverley, Tom||Watford FC||1|
|Lindelof, Victor||Manchester United||1|
|Pereira, Ricardo||Leicester City||1|
|Kovacic, Mateo||Chelsea FC||1|
|Dallas, Stuart||Leeds United||1|
|Townsend, Andros||Everton FC||1|
|Westwood, Ashley||Burnley FC||1|
|Pinnock, Ethan||Brentford FC||1|
|Bailey, Leon||Aston Villa||1|
|Adams, Che||Southampton FC||1|
|Iwobi, Alex||Everton FC||1|