Paul Pogba was voted Manchester United's Man of the Match by supporters on Twitter, following a powerful and influential display in the 2-0 Premier League win over Everton at Goodison Park.
The France international set up goals for Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard during an impressive second-half performance from Jose Mourinho’s Reds.
A dynamic force in midfield, Pogba dictated the tempo of the game for long periods and was the catalyst behind the crucial victory at the start of 2018.
POGBA’S MATCH STATS
Paul now has seven Premier League assists this season – an average of one every 149 minutes he's played – while he completed 51 of his 61 passes and had 81 touches of the ball during the game.
Pogba, who has worn the captain's armband for the last four league games in the absence of Antonio Valencia and Michael Carrick, ran the show with his vision, passing and movement.
As well as setting up both goals for compatriot Martial and fellow Academy graduate Lingard, the 24-year-old had four shots of his own and hit the target once. From his position on the left side of a midfield three, his influence was clear to see and five chances were created from his ingenuity.
Attacking is not the only part of Paul’s game, however, and the combative former Juventus man duly put in a shift to help his defensive team-mates.
Have a look at his vital match stats...
MAN OF THE MATCH
Pogba was the overwhelming winner of our Man of the Match poll, claiming 80 per cent of votes, with fellow nominees Lingard (12 per cent) and Luke Shaw (eight per cent) finishing behind him.
Reflecting on the win and his own performance, Pogba said afterwards:
“It was the first game of the year and a good 2-0 win. We had chances, we played aggressively but in a positive way, creating chances and defensively we were very good. It was a very good team performance.
”I moved a bit more forwards in the second half and we did a good job. Both goals are lovely goals, the performance of the team was great, we could create more chances. If you don't shoot you cannot score. We are United – if you draw it is a problem, we just want to win.
MUTV analyst and former United player Danny Webber has picked out Pogba as his star man from the New Year’s Day win at Goodison Park.
“Paul was playing in a very advanced role and was always trying to get on the ball,” says Webber.
“He picked up a lot of possession on the left-hand side and that's where his two assists came from, for Martial and Lingard.
”He was that good that the cameraman even followed his celebration, even when he didn't score the goal! It was a top-class performance from Pogba.
Watch Pogba's best bits against Everton in the video below...
ManUtd.com's Mark Froggatt...
“Pogba has been unfairly questioned by outsiders ever since his transfer back to United, mainly for his colourful haircuts, elaborate celebrations and flamboyant personality, but United fans who watch him week in, week out, know exactly how important he is to the team.
”It took him a while to settle, yes, but he finished the 2016/17 season strongly and has flourished alongside summer signing Nemanja Matic this campaign. The Serbian's presence in front of the defence has allowed Paul to focus more on creating, and they've formed a powerful partnership thus far. Paul's recent absences, due to injury and suspension, only highlighted his value to the Reds.
SOCIAL MEDIA REACTION
Check out some of the posts from Twitter...
435 - It's now 435 days since Paul Pogba last ended on the losing team in a Premier League game (October 23rd 2016 v Chelsea). Since then he's played in 34 games (W21 D13 L0), while Man Utd have lost five games without him in this period. Talisman. pic.twitter.com/PS8DL3s326— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 1, 2018
Give me a decade of Paul Pogba & Anthony Martial playing together for Manchester United. I'm here for it.— Adam Joseph (@AdamJosephSport) January 1, 2018
Superb from Paul Pogba giving the ball boy his shirt, that kid will remember that day for the rest of his life 👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/3SZFzbSZge— Jimmy McBride (@jimmymcbride1) January 2, 2018
Enjoyable evening down at Goodison.— Peter Bolton (@PeterBolton3) January 1, 2018
Shows what the players can do when they put their minds to it. @paulpogba - playing further forward - was fantastic & @JesseLingard was brilliant again.
Hopefully all those ‘haters’ will get off their backs now! #Mufc 🇾🇪
Needed that win tonight top 2nd half performance and 2 quality goals Paul Pogba tonight though wow absolute quality 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼— Andrew whyment (@andywhyment81) January 1, 2018
Thought Pogba was in a different class today.— Stewart Gardner (@stewartgardner) January 1, 2018