1 – Zlatan is a beast
This isn’t necessarily news; in 180 games for Paris Saint Germain, Zlatan Ibrahimovic hit 156 goals. He’s a brilliant record of scoring goals for every team in every major league that he’s played for, but it’s still hugely impressive to see the Swede, who turns 35 this October, treating his football in England like a walk in the park.
His header for Manchester United’s first on Friday, easily outmuscling Jose Fonte who himself is far from slight was the work of a player who reads the game well, and has an exceptional knack of being in the right place at the right time. His second half penalty was calmly and powerfully dispatched into the bottom left corner beyond Fraser Forster, and brought his tally to 4 goals in 3 official appearances. Not bad for a bloke many expected to struggle to adapt to English football.
2 – Pogba looks right at home
Of course, the only thing that provided a bigger spectacle than Ibrahimovic’s two goals was the return of Paul Pogba to Old Trafford. His first touch of the night was poor, a combination of nerves and pressure, but thereafter, the Frenchman was excellent. He ran will the ball, he shielded it excellently, he showed great vision and even came close to a famous goal on his return to Manchester. He won’t bag 15/20 goals this season, but already, his quality suggests that his £89m transfer has been well worth it for United’s midfield.
3 – United’s defence needs a little work
Jose Mourinho has opted for the same back four in United’s three games proper this season, and so far, it’s worked. Mostly. Shane Long will probably feel frustrated that he didn’t finish one of the. presentable three opportunities that came his way, and United’s defending on each occasion was a little disorganised. A far sterner test and better barometer of where this back four is in terms of quality awaits after the international break, when Pep Guardiola brings his Manchester City side to Old Trafford.
4 – United are expunging Van Gaal from their systems
United recorded 43% of the possession on Friday night, which is as good a sign that you can get that they are fast removing themselves from the style of play that Louis van Gaal forced them to adopt. High on possession but low on goals, the Dutchman’s style grated many, but already, Jose Mourinho has made United a far more effective team despite having less of the ball. It’s almost like United didn’t need that much possession to begin with….
5 – United have to keep this up
Next Sunday brings a visit to the KCOM Stadium and Hull City, this season’s surprise package with two wins from two league games, and a chance for United to register three league wins from their first three league games for the first time since 2011. It’s been a solid start to life under Mourinho; United look more effective, better in every department and a bigger threat to the teams around them than they have for some time. The challenge now is to keep this good start going.