Zlatan Ibrahimović scored a brace to secure Manchester United three points during this Friday night thriller.
The Giant Swede stole the show last night, even though Manchester United’s record-breaking signing Paul Pogba made his first appearance as a Red Devil in almost five years. Zlatan scored twice against Southampton as Jose Mourinho took charge of his third competitive match as Manchester United’s manager.
Manchester United played their first 2016/17 home Premier League match of the season and the Red Devils continued their winning form.
Paul Pogba, who arrived this summer for a record-breaking £89 million, made his second debut and put in an impressive performance. He couldn’t represent the Reds last week as he was serving a one-match suspension.
However, Zlatan was the man that caught everyone’s eyes – scoring his first brace for Manchester United. He scored after heading in Rooney’s cross, and followed it up with a goal from the penalty spot.
Here are five things we learnt from Manchester United’s 2-0 triumph over Southampton:
- Zlatan Continues to Perform
Zlatan was Manchester United’s third signing of this summer transfer window. The Giant Swede came for free, after he saw out his contract at Paris Saint-Germain.
Many fans and pundits cast doubt over how Zlatan will perform for United. Being 34 years old, Zlatan isn’t exactly the youngest and fastest striker out there, However, he has already scored 4 goals for Manchester United, in just three games!
If Zlatan can continue such form, he could even win the Premier Golden Boot. A goal every game would see him end the season with at least 38 goals.
Zlatan has won just about any trophy available on a club level out there, except for the most important of them all – the UEFA Champions League. But that won’t bother him too much if he wins the Premier League with Manchester United.
The Swedish attacker has brought his winning mentality and determined attitude to Manchester, and it’s clear that it is already rubbing off on the younger players.
Zlatan is yet to play in a high-profile match for Manchester United, but he seems to be on the right path. During the past few seasons, United have failed to capitalize on many smaller teams, but Zlatan seems to have changed it all.
All we can do at the moment is sit back and watch the magnificence of Zlatan Ibrahimović!
- Jose Fonte Fails to Impress
Jose Mourinho was believed to be on the lookout for an older and more experienced defender, with Jose Fonte high on his list. However, after tonight’s performance, Mourinho will have to reconsider his options and opt for someone else.
Fonte was caught square on many occasions, and allowed the United attack to flow past him. The Southampton skipper failed to stop Zlatan from scoring the opener.
The Portuguese defender is usually criticized over his defensive abilities, but he makes up for it due to his incredible control and confidence on the ball.
Mourinho isn’t seeking the best in the world, but rather a calm and experienced defender, which made Fonte the perfect choice. But, after tonight’s performance, he will definitely rethink his options.
- Jose Mourinho only has one intention: To win
The Special One is Manchester United’s third managerial appointment since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.
David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal were both cut short of their contracts as they failed to meet the requirements set by the board, despite Louis Van Gaal winning the FA Cup in his final season with United.
The Manchester United fans welcomed Jose Mourinho with open arms, knowing that he will be the right man to get them back on track in the Premier League.
Mourinho has only managed three competitive matches for Manchester United, but he has already made his intentions wide and clear – he wants to win.
First, the Special One instructed his seniors to buy him four players who he thinks will balance out the squad – and they have completed his request with almost a month to spare.
Manchester United are headed for greatness in the hands of Mourinho!
- The Defense looks tighter
Following the departures of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, Manchester United have struggled to find the same sort of rocks in their defensive line-up.
Van Gaal tried to bring in Marco Rojo to rectify the problem, but the Argentine failed to establish himself in the back four, and is currently on Mourinho’s sell list for the summer.
Eric Bailly, brought in from Spain, looks confident and strong on the ball. He seems the right man to help Manchester United’s title push. However, the Ivorian still has a few bumps to iron out. He needs to work on his calmness and strengthen his ability in the air.
Daley Blind also managed to start the match today. Mourinho has altered Blind’s position from his usual defensive midfield starting position to a now center-back position. The transition seems to be successful as Blind looks more confident and calm on the ball. Mourinho could see a future with Blind.
All in all, Mourinho will be pleased with the way his team has been performing so far, and will probably not need to make any changes this summer, besides selling a few redundant players.
- Marouane Fellaini given another chance
Many reports in England suggests that Jose Mourinho is looking to sell the Belgian powerhouse, with Sunderland keen to sign him.
However, Mourinho has started Fellaini during all three of his competitive matches in charge of Manchester United, which brings up the question: Will Fellaini stay this summer?
Fellaini joined Manchester United three years ago as the first major signing of the David Moyes era. But he has since failed to establish a definite spot in the starting eleven.
His performance today was decent, not too bad and not too special. Mourinho, playing the 4-2-3-1 formation, opted to play Fellaini alongside Paul Pogba, just in front of the back four.
The partnership seemed to work, but there is still plenty of room for improvement. Mourinho is still experimenting with his squad, so it remains likely that he will later strip Fellaini from this spot.