Manchester United are off to a raving start, including their new front man Zlatan Ibrahimovic. But should we dial back the premature celebrations?
Zlatan is off to one hell of a start to begin his Premier League career. He has scored three goals through his first three games. Jose Mourinho is surely having the time of his life and everyone associated with Manchester United is thrilled out of their minds.
So many are quick to anoint Zlatan the God of Manchester United, just like he wished, but, and forgive my skepticism, I haven’t seen anything to be overly confident. His goal against Bournemouth was a pinball effort and, while his header against Southampton was powerful, the other goal was a penalty. Against Hull City, he was neutralized.
I’m not saying don’t be excited. Absolutely be excited. But keep in mind that Zlatan is 35 years old. He has never faced prolonged competition before and I would not be surprised to see a Riyad Mahrez like tumble a few months into the season. It’s normal. It’s natural. This is a new league with new, suffocating challenges and Zlatan has only taken it to the Saints and the Cherries.
Nothing against the first two opponents, but he didn’t exactly boss them and they aren’t exactly the cream of the crop either. Neither was Hull City.
Let me see Zlatan stand down a defense of even Everton’s quality and then I will start taking some eggs out of the skepticism basket and putting them in the optimism basket.
I was concerned with Manchester United’s fortunes, feeling like they had to get started fast if they wanted to stay relevant. There are a lot of egos on that team and while Mourinho is probably the only one that can manage that many, it’s still a dicey endeavor.
They don’t have to worry about that good start. They have it. The only thing they have to worry about next is keeping Zlatan going. He is already being anointed the spiritual leader of Mourinho United but if that’s the case, then if his spirits dampen, so too will the teams. And we have seen Zlatan’s spirits dampen when frustrated. Just look at Sweden’s paltry effort in the Euros.
Now granted, there is no Paul Pogba on Sweden, but the point remains that Zlatan is one man that has already scored 50% of United’s goals. Mark my words: he will get tired, he will get frustrated. And when that happens the club will need an alternative and given how confident Zlatan is, he may not let an alternative form