Zlatan’s Barren Run Goes On

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has won all there is to win in the game. He has endured successful spells at Europe’s biggest clubs including PSG, AC Milan and Barcelona scoring goals throughout his career. Now he has tried his hand in the arguably the hardest league in the world, the Premier League, with Manchester United. The questions surrounding his move to England were predominately whether or not he could still produce on the big stage. With 5 goals in his first 5 games including the winner in the community shield, it seemed as if the Big Swede was still as deadly as ever. However, with only 1 in his previous 9, things aren’t quite turning out the way he and United hoped following his arrival.

At the age of 35, it was perhaps naive to think that Ibrahimovic could maintain the high standards he has set himself over the years, especially in a league far more competitive than that of France. Yet many believed he could still produce when his team needed him the most. Based on his performances early on it appeared that the faith that the club had vested in him had paid off. It wasn’t just his goals that helped the team but that ego that follows him wherever he goes was starting to bring the fear factor back to United. Recently on the other hand, things have started to go downhill, not just for Ibrahimovic but United as a whole. Following Mourinho’s humiliation by former club Chelsea on Sunday, the Red’s now trail the top 5 by 5 points. Whilst yesterdays derby win did provide some light relief for Mourinho and his team, it still didn’t mask the fact that there is still a lot of work to do. The worrying thing for Mourinho recently has been the anonymity of some his players in the big game’s. One of the players top of the list, it has to be said, is their new number 9.

Manchester United v Stoke City - Premier League

Ibrahimovic has struggled over recent games

During yesterday’s win over City, Ibra looked sluggish and lethargic throughout the course of the game. A lack of influence on proceedings accompanied by the in-ability to retain the ball meant that the 35 year-old had a tough time of it. The main worry over recent weeks has been his failure to convert chances during key periods of games. Against Liverpool he had a clear sight of goal early in the second half but completely miscued his header and the chance was gone. 6 days later he then had a similar chance against Chelsea but once again failed to get his header on target. This came at a time when the Blues were only 1 goal to the good and if that the chance is converted, than the final outcome could of been very different indeed.

Ibrahimovic is of course not the only player at United currently struggling to find any form. £89 million man Paul Pogba has had his fair share of critics since his return to the club whilst Wayne Rooney has been omitted from the starting 11. However, Ibrahimovic is the leading striker now and the more games he goes without scoring , the harder it gets for United to pick up points. Many have called for him to be removed from the firing line so that he can get a rest that many believe he sorely needs. The question then is who replaces him ? Rooney could always be restored to his former position or they could deploy someone like Memphis or Martial in that role. Despite these high profile names, I think we all know the man they would like to see leading the line…

Rashford has proved countless times that he can score the goals this united team has been missing over recent years and even if it was just for a few games, I’m sure that United fans everywhere would have no objection to his inclusion in the side as the main man upfront. If Mourinho does decide to give Ibrahimovic the rest he clearly needs and they look a better side without out him, this doesn’t mean that his united career will end a failure, Whatever his position in the club, he is still a fantastic pro to have in that dressing room and the club is lucky to have him. His legacy will not be decided by his United career because he is a true legend of the game and will be for years to come.

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