Thursday November 1 2012
Potential, potency, Pogba

The 19-year-old who said no to Sir Alex Ferguson, Paul Pogba is delivering on his potential way ahead of schedule at Juventus. Scott Fleming writes.

“Pogba did very well with the goal, but he still needs to improve. He played an excellent opening 20 minutes, then became a little lazy and that is unacceptable.”

It was a nice try by assistant Juventus Coach Angelo Alessio. But at this point, trying to slow down the hype surrounding Paul Pogba is like trying to slow down the teenage titan when he's rampaging through midfield – futile.

That he's a good player shouldn't come as a surprise. The fact that he arrived from Manchester United, and that Sir Alex Ferguson was so irked by his departure, told us as much. “It's a bit disappointing because I don't think he showed us any respect at all,” sulked the Scotsman in July.

“A 19-year-old who said no to Ferguson, maybe he took it badly,” Pogba cheekily replied.

No one could have anticipated that the former Le Havre player would make such an impressive impact at such an early stage of his career in Turin however. It was only a month ago that he made his first competitive appearance for the Bianconeri, starting the home win against Chievo. A couple of late cameos aside, we didn't see him again until the 75th minute of the top of the table crunch match against Napoli two weeks ago.

Seven minutes after stepping off the bench and with the scoreline at 1-0, Pogba sealed a hugely significant victory for Juventus with a swish of his left boot, volleying past Morgan De Sanctis from distance.

It's within the past four days that the hype has really taken off though, sparked by his starting and finishing two full games and by a performance in the second against Bologna last night that was simply magisterial.

The young Frenchman skimmed then shuddered the post with a header and curling shot respectively, created Fabio Quagliarella's opening goal with an inspired lob over the Bolognese backline and – with Juve headed for a costly 1-1 draw – flung himself at a Sebastian Giovinco cross to net a 92nd minute winner.

“Pogba controlled the midfield, so much so that neither Arturo Vidal or Claudio Marchisio was missed, Juve have found a little champion,” proclaimed the Gazzetta dello Sport, the 6ft2 midfielder being described as 'little' the only part anyone could disagree with.

The question now of course is what happens when Vidal and Marchisio return from suspension and injury for the Derby d'Italia clash Scudetto six pointer against Inter on Saturday, and the most likely answer is that – just as he did for the Nordsjaelland game after his blockbuster against Napoli – Pogba will drop to the bench.

Nonetheless, simply by giving Antonio Conte that dilemma, he has already achieved a lot.

Willingly leaving United at the age of 19 because you aren't getting enough opportunities in the first team shows an enormous amount of self confidence. So does believing you'll find those opportunities at the Juventus Stadium, where Vidal, Marchisio and Andrea Pirlo stand in your way. A bit like sidling up to the Holy Trinity and telling one of them to hit the showers.

But on the evidence of Pogba's display last night, that confidence is entirely justified. 

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Have your say...
@juvefanatico - i support juve and all that, but im a realist. saying juve have a better midfield then madrid is daft, and that is me putting it nicely. you probably should accept defeat to BOSS on this occasion.
on the 5th November, 2012 at 1:50pm

Can you not understand that you are the one that said midfield so we will compare midfielders. Alonso ozil khedira are all better then marchisio Vidal and Pirlo overall. The fact you are trying to argue against this is absurd. I just hope you never coach a football team. How on earth is comparing midfielders like comparing messi and Buffon, a striker and a goalie? You should really stop posting whilst your behind
on the 4th November, 2012 at 7:01pm
@juvefanatico - I like how you are now silent regarding your statement made on 1 November about midfielders. We could argue all day about the position of the players but lets go to the core of this debate, your comment made stating juve have a better midfield then Madrid. If we choose to exclude Ronaldo, Madrid still have a far superior midfield. I think most people would agree, that your comment was foolish and your persistence just makes your post even more embarrassing
on the 4th November, 2012 at 6:57pm

Also you keep going back to Ribery and Robben, last two seasons under Jupp Heynckes though they are wingers & NOT CENTRAL MIDFIELDERS have barely played in midfield but rather as forwards by supporting Gomez. If you watched Bayern play you would know that. But even so as wingers you can't possibly start comparing those two to the Juve's trio again my argument remains the same comparing players like Ribery & Robben, to Pirlo, Vidal, & Marchisio is almost like comparing Messi to Buffon.
on the 3rd November, 2012 at 11:31pm

I didn't know i had to spell each players position on the field in order to compare them to others. Please take a breather before you respond to my posts as again you keep embarrassing your self. When i discuss individual players on a team i compare them to the same type of a player of the opposite side. I can not and will not ever compare C.Ronaldo to Pirlo as those two play completely different positions. Calling C.Ronaldo a midfielder is idiotic nothing less.
on the 3rd November, 2012 at 11:21pm
@Juvefanatico - Although i have already highlighted the fact you say MIDFIELD, you are now backpeddaling and trying to say that you were just referring to central midfielders. This is daft for several reasons. Khedira, Alonso, Ozil are far better then Vidal, Marchisio and Pirlo. Do not try and and restrict the individual players you decide you want to include to suit your feeble argument. We are talking midfieders. You mention Bayern, as i said, Robben and Ribery are superior to Juve's midfield
on the 3rd November, 2012 at 4:56pm
@juvefanatico - You truly are a very dense individual. Look at your post on 1 November where you state clearly that Juve has a better MIDFIELD, not central midfield, then Madrid. As for Ronaldo, i thought you would argue he is a striker, however he is also used as a MIDFIELDER, irrespective of how far forward, when Madrid play one striker. Your attempts at trying to be smart are really backfiring on you. Stop posting nonsense, construct a decent argument then come back to me, call your lawyers.
on the 3rd November, 2012 at 4:52pm
The other midfielder Real used in the same position is Sami Khedira and not even he can be considered better then the trio Juve used last season.
on the 3rd November, 2012 at 2:45am

By the way here are the last seasons top used midfield players from Real Madrid mate Xabi Alonso, Esteban Granero, Lassana Diarra! If you look at the comparison to Juves trio of Pirlo, Vidal and Marchisio i guarantee you Juve has a better midfield trio. Next you will try to compare C.Ronaldo, Ozil, DiMaria, to Chiellini, Buffon and Bonucci! Check your facts mate before you embarrass your self further.
on the 3rd November, 2012 at 2:42am

Again posting before checking your facts mate, have the decency to read my posts carefully before you keep embarrassing your self. By all accounts it is you who keeps looking at EA's FIFA and makes idiotic claims. C.Ronaldo is not a midfielder check your facts he plays as a forward or as a winger NOT CENTRAL MIDFIELD which we were discussing this entire time. By the way name me please three players that Real madrid has in the CENTER that play better then Juve's trio! Same goes for Bayern
on the 3rd November, 2012 at 1:33am
@juvefanatico you ask me to refrain from making "idiotic" assumptions, then you go on to say juve have a better midfield then Madrid. I would simply say to you that you need to stop playing FIFA and instead start watching real football. If you think marchisio Vidal and Prilo are better then ozil Ronaldo and alonso, then you truly are a dense individual. Think about your posts carefully son.
on the 2nd November, 2012 at 6:33pm
@mike, by your own logic, it is also funny how juve chased robben only for him to turn them down. I would swap marchisio and Vidal in an instant for Ribery and robben.

With regards to spell check, I recently was provided with an iPad which is set on auto correct and I can't be bothered to change it.
on the 2nd November, 2012 at 6:27pm

It's funny you should mention watching football outside of Italy when Bayern Munich offered Juventus 60m EU for Vidal and Marchisio.

BTW, please use spell-check.
on the 2nd November, 2012 at 3:49pm
Just because a player runs around a lot, it doesn't make them a great player. Marchisio could become a great player, if he pushed forward even more. He is a good finisher and also has a good eye for killer ball. I want him to do these things more often. Fergie was a fool for not giving Pogba regular football, especially when he doesn't have great central midfielders, (apart from Scholes). He should be annoyed with himself and not Pogba, for letting this talent pass through his grasp.
on the 2nd November, 2012 at 3:06pm
To a couple of people who said Marchisio "stinks", you must be some of the dumbest Juve fans around. He runs non stop for 90 minutes and is arguably the most important player on the team next to Pirlo. I guess UEFA now gives out Balon d'Or nominations to people who "stink". Give me a break. How about watching the games and understanding football before you make comments like that. As for Pogba, no doubbt he is an exciting prospect, but it's not time yet. Eventually, it will be.
on the 2nd November, 2012 at 12:35pm
Some people saying that marchisio is not good. I don't know what team u been watching. He run nonstope for 90 min. Box to box. Has good passies and. He can score goals. He was like the second top scorer for Juve last year.. If he play for barca. He would score 15 to 20 goals a season easy.
on the 2nd November, 2012 at 10:32am
Pogba has the potential to become great, but at the moment he doesn't need to let one great performance get to his head and expect to start every match. He will do even better with time, but im not getting to excited. As for Vidal, Marchisio & Pirlo, the trio is the best in Italy, all three have had a dip in form recently but it doesn't change the fact that they can compete with the best of Europe on any given day.
on the 1st November, 2012 at 10:17pm

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but for your own sake please refrain from posting idiotic assumptions that have no fact basis nor are they realistic. I to watch Europe's biggest leagues & have done so for the past 20 years. Bayern certainly doesn't have a better midfield then Juve, Real has a strong midfield but they too aren't better then Juve. Don't get me started on Man United. The only club that has a proven stronger midfield then Juve is Barca & that's for the moment.
on the 1st November, 2012 at 10:12pm
Marchisio is useless in Juve's midfield, he can't mark, he can't tackle, he can hardly pass and he cant dribble, Pirlo is okay, but he has bn better, Vidal is the deal, he works tirelessly for the team - hes indispensible. Pogba will dethrone Marchisio, I dont even know what he's doin in the 1st 11. Its just sensible that Pogba should start against Inter, he deserves it. Forza Juve!
on the 1st November, 2012 at 9:17pm
you folks dont get over hyped by Pogba's performance,am not taking anything from him,he did well,he saved us,but Vidal is the best super gladiator we have since Edgar Davids in terms of energy,focus and passion which Pogba need to learn from. Iunderstood what Alessio was saying.
on the 1st November, 2012 at 8:49pm
he got caught on the ball so many times and was so lucky to get fouls that wasnt as for vidal he is so wasteful with the ball always marks the wrong side which leads to silly fouls and stupid cards hes like davids was sometimes hes a passenger marchisio however is for me the shoe in i think pirlo is safe enough but i would definetly play pogba more than they will, like i said how many headers he win left foot right foot comfortable and the chip for the pass was sublime and he wants to get forwar
on the 1st November, 2012 at 8:28pm
spain crushed pirlo in the final he dictates the game when he has time on the ball but i really think teams dont do enough to pressure him he will get found wanting and has done in the champions league juventus need to go from deep quick and have a player who can drive from deep with the ball nothing worse than making a yard losing your marker and the ball doesnt come he has the passing ability but he just dont hit the ball enough for me he turns on the ball so many times last season,
on the 1st November, 2012 at 8:25pm
i have to disagree about pirlo many times that ball is on from deep and he always turns on the ball it must be so frustrating as a striker look at the game last night bendtner come so deep sometimes just to get the ball im sorry but pirlo gets away with it in serie A but hes been caught on the ball a lot ive watched juventus since 90 and that break is on all the time and the midfield are not direct enough.the forwards dont have to control the ball there is space to hit for them to run into.
on the 1st November, 2012 at 8:21pm
Pogba played a great game & I thought when Juve went 4-3-3 and brought Giovinco on wide I thought he was brilliant... Take note Conte... He's not a striker &lets use the 4-3-3 a bit more often please.
on the 1st November, 2012 at 8:17pm

What you are talking about is Conte's tactical preference, not vidal or pirlo's inability. This Juve focuses on possession not quick counters.

Juve's midfield is among the best in europe. Pogba's situation is great for him. He can challenge for first team, and not suffer from too much pressure of performing as the four could easily rotate when off form.

Get a real striker Juve! Do not waste this midfield.
on the 1st November, 2012 at 7:30pm
Prilosec is a good player but he is old and he can't run o save his life. I think the girls that keep posting saying how great marchisio is really need to start watching football abroad nd also cast their short term memories back to the euros. Marchisio just uns, he does not create. Threat frequently. He is not special. Try watching football outside of Italy
on the 1st November, 2012 at 7:08pm
Wow many idiots posting. How deluded people are thinking marchisio is so great. I look t the best teams in Europe not in Italy. Madrid, barca, united, Chelsea, Munich all have better midfields then juve. I am content with Vidal and Prilosec but certainly not marchisio. Anonymous appparently works at Madrid. Gianni u silly child, marchisio and Vidal r so great that they can't construct a victory against. Team outside of Italy.
on the 1st November, 2012 at 7:05pm
I'm surprised Pirlo, Marchisio n Vidal (d warrior) are being downgraded. Pogba is great but those 3 are phenomenal. Havnt u noticed how Juve struggle when Vidal is not 100percent? I strongly believe age is catching up with Pirlo as he has too many games to cope with. However, d fit between d strikers and d midfielders is not yet perfect.
on the 1st November, 2012 at 6:35pm
pogba will be the next best legend to come out of the juve camp and join may other talents and possibly vice captain one day! (Buffon>Chielini>Marchisio captains armband over time) but every one must not be over critical if he has one off day and that goes for all other youngsters in series a... they all need time and experience not critism!
on the 1st November, 2012 at 6:25pm
and best passers of the game, and as for vidal he's been our best destroyer in midfielder for a very long time now, past 5 seasons i cant think of anyone better, sissoko didnt live up to the potiental and expectations and poulsen was a joke! lol, true although he may miss place a few passes or play on the wrong side because his first role is to always disposses the oppisition and protect pirlo when he is in control, then! to provide goals and attack forward
on the 1st November, 2012 at 6:22pm

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