Manchester United beat Leicester City this Sunday to win the 2016 FA Community Shield, thereby ushering into the new Jose Mourinho era.
The Red Devils played last season’s Premier League champions, Leicester City, in this year’s edition of the FA Community Shield, and Mourinho’s men managed to deliver.
Jose Mourinho named a fairly attacking starting eleven, adopting the 4-2-3-1 formation. Zlatan started up front with Wayne Rooney, Jesse Lingard, and Anthony Martial playing behind the giant Swede. The back four consisted of Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Daley Blind, and Luke Shaw.
Jesse Lingard scored the first goal of the match, as the youngster dribbled past the Leicester defense and smashed the ball into the back of the net. Kasper Schmeichel managed to get a touch, but the ball had too much power behind it, and bounced off the keeper and into the net.
Jamie Vardy, Leicester City’s top scorer last season, scored the equalizer seven minutes after Lingard netted the opener, by pouncing on Marouane Fellaini’s poor back-pass to David De Gea, and placing the ball in the back of the net.
But it was the new boy, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who stole the show. The giant Swede headed in the winner during the 83rd minute in what was basically his full debut for Manchester United. Zlatan created noise around the Red side of Wembley, after he converted Valencia’s beautiful cross into the match-winning goal.
So, here are five things we learnt from Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Leicester City.
- Zlatan is like wine, he gets better with age.
Zlatan Ibrahimović arrived from Paris this summer on a free transfer after his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expired. The 34-year-old scored 50 goals last season, but his skills in the Premier League are yet to be tested.
He has certainly been living up to his name with Manchester United. He scored an acrobatic scissor kick volley only four minutes into his debut, and now, he has just won Manchester United their first trophy of the season.
Just a few days ago, Arsene Wenger mentioned that Zlatan is “too old” for the Premier League. However, Zlatan previously claimed that he “is like wine, gets better with age.”
Only time will tell whether he will cope with the Premier League, but he won’t be needed to play every single match for United, as the new kids on the block – Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial – would also love to get as much time on the pitch as they can.
- Eric Bailly Impresses On His Debut
Jose Mourinho’s £30 million splurge of Eric Bailly looks like it will yield great returns. The 22-year-old greatly impressed on his Manchester United debut.
The English leagues are notoriously hard to adapt to, but it seems that Bailly is headed on the right path. His man of the match performance helped United overcome the Foxes to lift their second piece of silverware this year.
The Ivorian is quick on the ball, stood solidly against the strikers, and is relatively good in the air. However, it’s not all praise for Eric, as he did have a few off moments during the match. Bailly tended to dive too quickly into tackles, and even received a yellow card for one of his challenges.
But he has what it takes to be a great defender, and it’s only a matter of nurturing his talent so that he develops into an impressive defender that can be compared with the likes of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.
- Jose Mourinho Favors the 4-2-3-1 Setup
The Special One has grown accustomed to this 4-2-3-1 setup, claiming that it allows just the right balance of attacking and defending. This formation also allows the players to drop back while defending a lead – a tactic which has come to be known as Jose Mourinho’s “Park the Bus.”
Zlatan started the match as a striker, which we expect him to continue doing for most of the upcoming season. Wayne Rooney played just behind him as the number 10. The Special One made it clear that he will play Rooney in a more attacking position this season, rather than the midfield position that he has been told to play in by previous managers.
The back four comprised of Antonio Valencia, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, and Eric Bailly. The defense line proved to be quite effective, but it did have its moments of weakness. We would expect to see Chris Smalling starting in the back four for most of the upcoming season.
- Marouane Fellaini Just Made His Future Unclear
The Belgian powerhouse has struggled to find a definitive starting position in the Manchester United squad ever since his arrival in 2013. Under David Moyes, he was played as a defensive midfielder, and he didn’t do a great job at it.
With Manchester United confirming that Paul Pogba will have his medical this week, it means that Fellaini will be all but redundant in the first team. Pogba fits the exact description that Fellaini is trying to fill.
Marouane Fellaini was the reason that Jamie Vardy scored Leicester’s equalizer. His poorly executed back-pass to David De Gea was intercepted by Jamie Vardy, who calmly placed the ball in the back of the net.
Reports claim the David Moyes is looking to sign 28-year-old for his new club, Sunderland.
- Leicester City Have A Mammoth Task Ahead Of Them
Last season’s Premier League Champions will be looking to defend their title this season. However, Ranieri may not find it as easy as last year.
The Foxes have already lost the first piece of silverware available to them this season. It may not seem as important at the moment, but it could affect their start to the season – and Jose Mourinho can tell you all about how crucial it is to get a good start to the season. Chelsea sacked the Special One last season as he began disastrously, which led to the Blues finishing in the 10th place.
But then again, this is the team that, against all odds, won the Barclays Premier League. It will be interesting to see how Ranieri will rotate his squad to accommodate Champions League nights, but we shouldn’t rule them out just yet.