This has obviously been a major story since the final whistle blew so I’ll throw my two cents in. Paul Pogba won a penalty against Wolves on Monday with the score tied at one.
Pogba stepped up and took the penalty and missed. This was a big deal because last week Marcus Rashford scored a penalty. It became a bigger deal because United never scored a second goal.
It’s not a surprise considering that the media will look to blame Pogba for anything and Gary Neville did just that. After the game Solskjaer said there was no problem, both Pogba and Rashford are designated penalty takers and they’ll figure it out on the pitch.
Here’s the deal. Last week Marcus Rashford won the penalty and then stepped up to take the penalty. I think two things were at play here, the first obviously being that Rashford won the penalty.
The second was that with all the talk of United selling Lukaku and putting all their trust in Rashford and Martial, it’s crucial for them to get goals. When you get a first half penalty it make sense for Pogba to step back and let Rashford take the penalty so Rashford can get off the mark. Those guys need goals. Pogba stepping back and recognizing that is a leadership thing.
Fast forward to this week. When Pogba wins the penalty, Rashford and Martial both are sitting on two goals. Now it’s Pogba’s turn to get off the mark.
Besides, Pogba won the penalty! It’s totally natural for him to then step up and take the penalty. It happens all the time. Pogba then didn’t so much as miss the penalty as much as Rui Patricio made a fantastic save. It happens. It’s football.
When all is said and done, I had no problem with Rashford and Pogba swapping duties around. Having said that, now that Pogba has missed four times in the past year, maybe it’s time to rethink that.
I don’t like the idea of saying “you kick until you miss” so perhaps it’s time to give duties to Rashford full time.
My change of heart has nothing to do with United not winning yesterday but because over the past year Pogba has only converted 63% of his spot kicks. Penalties are typically converted 76 percent of the time. Pogba’s just not up to snuff.
PS: Anyone who thinks it’s ok to racially abuse Pogba for missing a spot kick can go fuck off. Pogba’s not the reason United lost that game. Penalties get missed all the time. You don’t see anyone abusing Luke Shaw, who happens to be white, for failing to close down Neves on his goal.