Manchester United finally put an end to their successive home draws with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Sunderland.
Goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Marcus Rashford ensured the Red Devils returned from the Stadium of Light with all 3 points, and they continue to remain in the fight for a Top 4 spot as the season nears its conclusion.
Here are the 4 things we learned from Sunday’s Premier League encounter:
Zlatan Just Keeps Getting Better
Manchester United were yet again led by their Swede superstar, as after half an hour of toothless attack from the away side, Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a belter out of nowhere to give his side the lead. The entire game changed from then on, as Jose Mourinho’s men began playing more comfortably, and added another goal to their tally right after the restart.
Ibrahimovic was also involved in United’s third goal, as his brilliant link-up play with youngster Marcus Rashford resulted in the Englishman breaking his goalless streak and getting on the scoresheet after quite a while.
Zlatan was eventually named Manchester United’s man of the match, and when speaking in his post-match interview, the 35-year-old claimed (via Sky Sports): “I train hard, I just play my game, I try to enjoy, and it seems that the older I get, the more intelligent I get.
“Of course you cannot move the same as 10 or five years ago, even 15 years ago, but the older, more experienced, more intelligent, you do not waste so much energy on things you do not really need. But the game is improving, I am getting better and better and like I said, I feel like Benjamin Button – I was born old and I will die young!”
Another quote to this genius’ famous collection, and another reminder to the world: Like a fine wine, the older Zlatan gets, the better he gets.
Manchester United Continue Their Super Away Run
Manchester United have enjoyed terrific form away from home this season, as they have won 9, drawn 3, and lost just 2 of the 14 games played on the road so far. But on the other hand, the Reds have genuinely suffered at Old Trafford, having bagged merely 6 victories, 1 defeat, and 9 astonishing draws from their 16 home fixtures.
Mourinho’s players have been dangerous visitors throughout the campaign, and the fact that United have scored 3+ goals in 3 consecutive Premier League away matches for the first time since November 2012 – back when Sir Alex Ferguson was still in charge – says a lot.
The Theatre of Dreams may have been nightmarish this term, but the Red Devils’ away form has still kept them very much in the midst of the Top 4 race. If the team continues to perform well away, and improves its performances at home, a Champions League spot could still be a realistic target for the 20-time English Champions.
Sergio Romero Is A Fantastic Deputy
Manchester United were without their first-choice goalkeeper on the day, as David De Gea was dropped due to a minor hip problem. The Spanish international’s impressive run of 63 successive league starts in goal was ended by Sergio Romero, who deputised superbly at the Stadium of Light.
The Argentine not only made some crucial saves, but also ensured his team kept a valuable clean sheet. Moreover, the 30-year-old’s ball distribution and quick throws led to numerous counterattacks as well, which his teammates failed to capitalise upon.
United’s backup keeper put in a terrific shift on Sunday, and his recent performances have even gone on to convince a few Reds’ fans that Romero could successfully replace De Gea in goal if the Spaniard ends up leaving for Real Madrid in the summer.
Meanwhile, Romero is set to retain his spot in the starting lineup for his team’s upcoming Europa League clash against Anderlecht on Thursday, as the Red Devils look to win the decorated title for the first them in their glittering history.
Sunderland Look Like They Are Going Down
Things look extremely grim for Sunderland at present, as they have now failed to secure a win in their last 7 league games. David Moyes’ men have also been unable to score a single league goal for an entire month now, and if they continue this miserable form, they are bound to become the first team to get relegated from the Premier League this season.
Moyes continues to remain adamant that his team will fight until it’s mathematically impossible for them to remain in the top flight of English football, but with Sunderland sitting at the bottom of the table, 10 points behind 17th-placed Hull (with still a game in hand), the Black Cats need to start winning points, and they need to do so soon.