What We Learned: Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be 35, but he’s world class


Manchester United beat West Bromwich Albion 2-0 in the Premier League at The Hawthorns on Saturday evening. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his 15th and 16th goals this season, making it ten goals in the last nine matches and eleven goals in the Premier League alone. Many of the ABU’s will be surprised that the Swedish striker has proven them wrong this season, but it is not hard to prove a moron wrong, is it? United have been playing some great football for months, grinding out some results in cup competitions, but falling blank in the league with three draws in a row at one stage, six in total this season. United though, seem to have turned their fortunes around at the right time, winning three league matches in a row, going into the Christmas period with two home matches and a visit to the tax-payers stadium in London, in order to keep their fortunes high into 2017.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

The 35-year-old Swede has been a bright light in this Manchester United side led by Jose Mourinho this season. Many had him written off before he even arrived at the club, based on his age, the fact he was going to play in a new, tougher league and the fact he had a poor campaign in the European Championships in France during the summer. Knowing that a striker with the ability to score at least twenty goals a season was missing, Mourinho bringing Ibrahimovic to the club for nothing was a masterstroke. Many said he would not score more than ten goals, but he eclipsed that some weeks ago, scoring his 15th and 16th goals this evening, making it ten goals in the last nine matches, eleven in the Premier League this season. With United not having that goalscoring ability last season is all the more better to have it now. The Premier League title may be heading to Chelsea this season, but United will be up for causing a few upsets along the way with Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur all standing in their way.

Paul Pogba

The Frenchman is still being classed as a waste of money by the ABU’s yet he has been playing consistently for weeks now, putting another match into United’s grasp with his decent display on and off the ball. United seem to be a more complete team with Pogba in the mix, which would suggest what it might have been like if he was given the role as the replacement for Paul Scholes four years ago, instead of allowing Pogba to leave the club after Scholes ended his retirement for a season and a half. Pogba is a class player, well-respected by his teammates and the fans. Pogba had unfinished business at United, many seem to think a large fee for a player should only be spent if that player brings in goals, as apparently only results matter in football, not performances. There was be thinking that performances were what got you results, but it seems I might have a lot to learn, albeit sarcastically. Pogba is a great addition to United this season, scoring five goals and assisting in three others in all competitions, which is not great, but when you look at the fact he’s more of a provider than a goalscorer or an assist machine, which will remain to be his role at the club. With Anthony Martial, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic all providing and assisting goals, what Pogba brings to the table in the form of assists and goal is an added bonus.

Wayne Rooney’s elusive 249th goal

Wayne Rooney was an unlucky player against West Bromwich Albion, very close to eclipsing the record set by Sir Bobby Charlton in the 1970’s. Rooney thunderous effort towards goal could well have seem him match the record set by the legendary United player. Rooney’s form has been questionable this season, playing against Palace earlier in the week saw a rather pathetic Rooney play, not being able to do much with his poor first touch, his overhitting of balls and just his general bad play. On Saturday though, Rooney played well, having that effort on goal which could have changed the course of history for the player. That 249th goal is elusive with Charlton being able to wake up on Christmas Day as the record holder, but with United playing Sunderland and Middlesbrough on Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve, it may not be a record he takes into 2017.

Jose Mourinho has found the real Manchester United and is making them stand up

Jose Mourinho has been a massive change for Manchester United this season. His transfer business in the summer was great; bringing in Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and also getting the return of Paul Pogba sanctioned. The start of the season was great, but three defeats in a row soon made things sour, with disgruntled supporter moaning about the manager, suggesting he was the wrong guy for the job. United then turned things around, but after a defeat or a draw, the discontent would soon return, with so-called supporters moaning once again, calling for the manager to be sacked and commencing in their speculation about who would be the next man coming in as the manager, not once thinking about the devastating effects this sort of business does to the players, not to mention of the reputation of the club. The thing is, I never wanted Mourinho, but I have grown to accept his appointment and I now value him for proving me wrong. It is a shame the fickle supporters United have in various countries don’t do the same. I for one, am sick and tired of glory hunting football supporters trying to call the shots and get themselves values as ‘die hard’ supporters. Mourinho has inspired his United side in to what they have become at this stage of the season. Turning Mkhitaryan from a flop into an immense player with his guidance, giving him the time to adapt, find confidence and show that. His recent injury was a blow, but he will soon be back inspiring his teammates to victories once more, pushing the Manchester United way into oppositions faces, helping the club achieve something this season, which has to be UEFA Champions League football next season. So far, so good for Mourinho and his men, onwards and upwards.

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