Return of the Natural Born Animal
Ibrahimovic announced his return to Manchester United in typical Zlatan style, with an image of himself depicted as Jesus arm wrestling a red devil. But as he says, he never really left:
“Lukaku called me and said: ‘Bro, can I get the No. 9 shirt? I said ‘I’m not on that level that I will make it difficult for you, I just want you to feel happy and feel welcome, so I give you the No. 9 but I will take the No. 10.’ That’s the way we do it. So I never left, I just upgraded my number.”
His season was cut short in April after ligament damage but the ‘natural born animal’ has been working hard to regain his fitness and looks like he could be returning to the pitch in January. Last term he netted 28 goals for United in the face of all the doubters who said he was too old to perform at that level in the Premier League. He proved the naysayers wrong and could be a vital addition to United’s already strengthened side this season.
Zlatan won’t have the same impact as he did last season and will more likely be viewed as an extra man. Lukaku was the big summer signing for United and has already scored 3 goals and taken an early lead in the race for the golden boot along with Mané, and Mourinho has insisted that Ibrahimovic will have to prove himself in Man Utd’s ‘made team’.
Rashford and Martial are also likely to be amongst the goals this season which makes United one of the most dangerous sides in the Premier League going forward. Each player offers different qualities and style of play, and that depth could be vital when fixtures stack up later in the season.
As well as bringing extra class to Old Trafford, Zlatan also brings character. He’s one of the most entertaining players both on and off the field and, at least for neutrals and Man Utd fans, it’s great to have him back.
United are the team to beat this season because they look great going forward and well-balanced defensively. They have strengthened in the key areas after Mourinho assessed what he was missing last season. Now that he has this great attacking force, life at Manchester is different.
That said, people still need to adjust to his playing style because it is different to the attacking play United were known for under Fergie. Mourinho is the master of sitting back and defending when his side has just enough to win.
Chelsea and City are the teams that can stop them – all three sides have a lot of similarities tactically and are all deadly in attack.
It has been a great start to the new Premier league campaign and there is nothing better than watching teams that play to win.