Zlatan Showing His Class At Man United


Quite a few people were eager to see the decline of Zlatan Ibrahimovic during his debut season at Manchester United. Many wanted to prove that he was past it and was all hype.

In October those hoping that Ibrahimovic would fail seemed gleeful at the thought of being proved right as the striker failed to score in five games. He was passing up plenty of opportunities and picking up yellow cards instead of man of the match awards. His new team would fail to win a league game that month.

But as we know Zlatan isn’t one for letting his critics get one over on him.

Yes the Swedish superstar is now thirty-five years of age but he hasn’t struggled with the rigours that players will encounter in the English game, in fact he actually seems to be enjoying the physicality that the defences in the Premier League offer him.

Jose Mourinho was desperate to secure Ibra as his new number nine and you can see why, in the last two months he’s been superb in helping change his club’s fortunes.

Since ‘Guy Fawkes’ night Zlatan has banged in ten goals in his last nine appearances.

Quite remarkably the veteran hitman has managed to play the full ninety minutes in each of those nine fixtures. That shows you the hunger that continues in his to burn in his belly and also how well he’s maintained his fitness into his mid-thirties.

It’s also worth noting that Man Utd haven’t lost in those nine fixtures and they’ve won their last three games in a row. They really are starting to look like a strong side and their main striker has had a lot to do with that.

Just this week he has played 180 Premier League minutes against the tough defences of Crystal Palace and West Brom. Against Palace he scored one and provided an assist to Paul Pogba, while Zlatan bagged himself a brace in the 2-0 win at The Hawthorns earlier today.

Not bad for a player supposedly past his best or not world class.

The world class question has dogged Ibrahimovic for years and it isn’t easily answered as it’s all down to opinion, there’s no criteria in what makes a player world class. For me? Well I’d say his goals, winners medals and his individual performances that can change the course of a game make him world class.

Past his best?

Possibly but his standard this season is still up their with the best that the Premier League have to offer. Only Chelsea’s Diego Costa and Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez have scored more league goals so far in England’s top flight this season.

He leads the line like a warrior.

He clashes with the opposition, links up play but most importantly he comes alive when chances present themselves. He’s terrific in the air (he wins on average three headers a game in the league) and he can make space for himself even when he has markers around him. His passing success rate average is up at 75% per game.

Young forwards like Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial can learn so much from his commitment to the cause, his desire, finishing instincts, the way he looks after himself and how he creates fear in those that play against him!

Ibrahimovic really is the Eric Cantona figure to this squad.

You can see that even some of his own teammates are intimidated by him but instead of shirking away from him and his ability, they aim to please him and supply him with the ammunition he thrives off of.

Zlatan has struck up a particular kinship with fellow new boy Pogba, who he shares the same agent with. They also seem to share that same desire to win, they’re both extremely confident/arrogant and always seem to play better when they have a smile on their face and are walking around the pitch with a swagger.

Pogba will almost always look for Zlatan when he receives the ball and see if he can feed the Swede. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that United’s form has picked up just when these two have started to take games by the scruff of the neck.

Manchester United’s recent form has them back within touching distance of the Champions League places. To continue that push you have to believe that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has to continue as their inspirational leader, leading the way and grabbing goals galore!

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