I've said it here before and I am about to say it again: When looking at one single player who pretty much embodied Juventus' early-season struggles and frustration, you needed to look no further than one Paul Labile Pogba. The team couldn't find their footing out of the gate, and neither could Pogba. One went with the other, which resulted in plenty of grumbling amongst Juventus fans alike.
Just as it was not a good start to the 2015-16 campaign for Juventus, Pogba's struggles to the begin his time as the man who donned the club's No. 10 jersey are rather well-documented at this point. "Why is Pogba struggling so much?" they said. Others pondered if the weight of such a historically significant number and a major uptick in responsibility with the departure of two midfield stalwarts. We all tried to play armchair manager/psychiatrist while trying to figure out what was truly at the heart of Pogba's early-season funk.
But here's another correlation between Juventus as a whole and Pogba himself: As the team's form is starting to seriously find its footing and head on an upward trajectory in the month of November, the same can be said for the 22-year-old Frenchman. Juventus is getting better as the season is heading toward its midway point, and it's now pretty clear that it's the same when it comes to Pogba's game.
Ah, now that's refreshing to see, isn't it?
You see, Pogba's too good and too talented to play like he did earlier in the season for an extended stretch of time. To see somebody as talented as he is struggle for a month or so is one thing because it happens to everybody at some point. Nobody is immune to a run of bad form. But to have that last for massive stretches throughout the season — no matter what the current state of the club is at that given time — is a completely different deal.
It's not just the successful return of the fancy tricks that we saw Pogba bust out against Manchester City or any of the other games these last few weeks. This is the return of the entire offering of Pogba's game, essentially. There's not just small glimpses of what might be viewed as Pogba getting out of his form struggles. This is the entire package of Pogba's game that is starting to truly show itself once again. Those forward-bursting runs from one end of the field to the other are back.
He's not the hot-and-cold kind of performer these days, either. Much like the team, he's found consistency in his game. How much of that has to do with Claudio Marchisio being back from injury to help shoulder the burden, I dunno exactly, but it has to help a pretty good amount just knowing that Pogba doesn't have to shoulder the load in the midfield anymore these days. Juventus haven't lost a game since Marchisio returned from injury, which obviously proves the point that he is so incredibly important to this current Juve squad.
So much of Pogba's early-season problems came when he was trying to do too much. But now that he's not forcing the issue, hie's resembling his old self. And that might be the most important thing of all when it comes to Pogba's return to form.
How many times did we see Pogba trying to overdo most things in the first part of the season? How often did we see Pogba screaming at the top of his lungs when things were going all sorts of wrong in September and October? It wasn't just once. It wasn't just twice. Whether it was feeling the weight of his new jersey number of him trying to overcompensate But now that things are simpler, more results are starting to show.
Pogba's best games came in the month of November. Same goes for Juventus as a whole. One translates to another, which makes a whole lot of sense when you apply simple logic to the situation. Juventus' rise up the table has been thanks to a lot of factors, but one of the biggest was Pogba righting the ship and playing like the guy we all know he can be and has been in the past.
It might have been a somewhat slow and arduous adaptation to the new season, but now that we're heading toward Christmas season, it's not like it once was back in September. Juventus is starting to truly grow into the season and hit its stride, and so is Paul Labile Pogba.