What We Learned: Juan Mata fits Manchester United like a glove to a hand

Manchester United won their sixth match in a row in the Premier league for the first time this season after beating West Ham United 2-0 at the London Stadium. Juan Mata and Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the two goals that did the business for Jose Mourinho’s side, with Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera assisting, respectively. Rashford’s introduction changed the game with his face and ability on the ball, also the fact that nothing seemed to faze him. United now have a team capable of grinding out the results needed which has seen them claw back a massive deficit from the teams above them. Chelsea might be out of reach, for now at least, but Liverpool in second place are just five points ahead of United, who still sit in sixth place. United’s next match in the league is against Liverpool, which could change that again. Manchester City is three points ahead of United and they have the magnificent Pep Guardiola to thank for that, he is a genius after all, not a bald fraud, obviously.

Paul Pogba is a massive talent

For months now the ABU’s (Anyone But United fan base) have been criticising Manchester United’s world record purchase of Paul Pogba from Juventus, just four years after he left with just a compensation payment payable to the Old Trafford club. Many had him written off before he even made his second debut at the club, and after a tough start, things are fitting into place for the Frenchman. Pogba has been playing well for United for weeks now, dominating matches in midfield and providing some great balls for his teammates. His winning goal against Middlesbrough showed what he can do in and outside of the box, adding more to his talent. Pogba is a great fit for Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United. He has got the Frenchman playing brilliant football and seems to know just how far he can go in the game. The Ballon d’Or maybe something he either will or won’t win at some point, but with many suggesting he won’t because he is not a player that scores goals, which seems to be the most important attribute when picking the winner. There is more to football than scoring goals. Players like Pogba are the ones in the background making the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as prolific as they are, as with all due respect, they don’t do it all alone, like some think they do.

Juan Mata has scored nearly as many goals as Wayne Rooney since he signed in 2014!

Since Juan Mata signed for Manchester United during the January transfer window in 2014 he has scored 25 goals for United in the Premier League. Wayne Rooney is the top scorer in the league for United during the same period, scoring just four goals more than the Spanish midfielder. That raises some questions about Rooney, who was once the prolific striker at United, but has since lost his place as the main striker to a player five years his senior, who is fitter, more capable and a much better fit for United. Mata was a player tipped to leave United in the summer after Mourinho’s arrival at the club, but time and time against he has proved himself as a player fit for United and Mourinho as he seems to get things moving. Against Middlesbrough, he was determined to get United ahead from the moment he came onto the pitch, again against West Ham that happened, with him finding the first goal of the match with Marcus Rashford providing the assist. Mata is a player needed at the club, be may be a substitute on occasion, but he will start matches too. Mata still has a lot to offer for United and has become a player that fits in with his teammates and is well-respected by them and more importantly the manager.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still past it

That comment makes me laugh. Many had the Swedish striker written off before he even wore the famous Manchester United shirt for the first time, but he scored a great goal in that match, the friendly against Galatasaray. Zlatan has scored 18 goals this season, four of those against the same club – West Ham United. He could have scored 19 at this time if that perfect goal he scored against Middlesbrough was not disallowed, but his goal today, which was offside made up for that one being ruled out. At 35 and playing in the competitive Premier League, to make the mark he has done shows that his last four years in Paris might have been wasted as a top league would have been a better challenge for him, but he continued in his success winning title after title and trophy after trophy also scoring goals galore. It will be funny for the ABU fans and media to keep writing United and Zlatan off, but the punchline will be hilarious – Manchester United, Jose Mourinho, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic will keep those coming.

Jose Mourinho has worked miracles after being fired by fans earlier in the season

Cast your mind back to the 4-0 defeat to Chelsea in the Premier League, the last defeat for United in the league, and there has only been one other defeat since then, to Fenerbahçe in the UEFA Europa League, Mourinho was being slated by some so-called supporters for being out of his depth at United. One defeat and everything changes with the fickle fans. Yes, a defeat is not great, but sacking the manager because of that is not what is needed. United do need to sack some fans, though. Mourinho has done a magnificent job at United this season, bringing in four talented players, getting a team playing to his strengths as a manager and getting the results needed to ensure United do not have another season watching others challenge again. Chelsea may be a long way off yet, with them being ten points ahead of United and with a game in hand, but anything can happen this season, which is why the #MourinhoOut brigade seems to have shut up shop, for now at least.

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copyright: JW

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