1 – Ibrahimovic is at home at United
One of the biggest doubts in people’s minds when it was announced that Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be joining Manchester United this summer was how the Swede would could with the rigours of Premier League football. Ibrahimovic turns 35 in September, and the Premier League is notorious for its intensity. Not that the man himself seems even slightly bothered by that.
Granted, two of them have been friendlies, but Ibrahimovic has bagged three goals in four appearances in a United shirt so far, and his powerful low strike against Bournemouth suggested that he still has all of the core attributes in place to succeed at United.
2 – Mata still has a place at the club
Here we are, in the middle of August and Juan Mata still remains at Manchester United, being managed by Jose Mourinho. It seems remarkable, given how quickly people assumed the Spaniard would be shipped out of Old Trafford, but Mata’s contributions today suggested he still has plenty to offer this club.
His goal was opportunistic, but the chance that created it was a result of running down a lost cause, and he profited from a defensive mix-up to slot home United’s first. The presence of Antonio Valencia on the right flank certainly helped, but Mata looked composed and worked hard, something Mourinho will have noticed.
3 – Eric Bailly is a force to be reckoned with
Not since the days of Nemanja Vidic have United been in the presence of a player as physical as Eric Bailly. His yellow card last weekend suggested that the Ivorian is still slightly raw, which is fine; he’s only 22, but the strength, awareness and physical presence that he’s shown since joining United so far is hugely impressive.
4 – United offered a solid midfield display
For the most part, the combination of Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera were good, if not excellent, but as a duo, they gave their teammates a good basis from which to win today. Herrera sliced Bournemouth open with some incisive passes, and Fellaini did an excellent job of breaking up play all afternoon. A job well done.
5 – The Mourinho era starts with a deserved win
It wasn’t spectacular, but as a tonic to last season’s frequently anodyne performances under Louis van Gaal, United’s 1-3 victory at Bournemouth today was exceptionally pleasing. Incisive attacking play, solid defence and encouraging attacking substitutions….it was a far cry from United’s 2-1 defeat here last season. This was without record signing Paul Pogba, too, suggesting that the best is most definitely yet to come.