Saturday night marked the first time Manchester United bagged three consecutive Premier League victories since the start of the season. And guess what? The big man, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was in the limelight once again. He is back to his usual business, you know what it is right?
Better late than never, the three consecutive victories have set the mood for Christmas. Manchester United were successful in penetrating two of the most stubborn defences in the league (Spurs and West Brom). It was bittersweet for United fans that Henrikh Mkhitaryan was stretched off the field late in the 2nd half against Spurs, who’s goal proved enough for the Red Devils. It was really exasperating to lose Mkhitaryan again just when his guns were blazing and who was restored to the starting lineup after a long wait by Mourinho.
However, Ibrahimovic made sure his team didn’t miss the Armenian by scoring the winner against Crystal Palace and by sinking West Brom with a brace. There were doubts over the Swede’s ability to adapt to the most demanding league at the age of 35 when he had just one goal in 9 games several weeks before. But, he reminded us all how ruthless he can be on his day. The brace against West Brom took his goal tally to 11 in the Premier League, just two behind the top scorer, Diego Costa (13).
The Carrick factor
I don’t know if it should be called supernatural or what? But it still holds true: Manchester United have not lost a game this season when Michael Carrick has started. It’s like the veteran midfielder still holds the key to success for United as they have won 11 out of 13 matches and drawn two in which Carrick has played. Also, United scored 32 goals and conceded just nine in Carrick’s presence. Its really hard to say if United will thrive or struggle when he finally steps down.
The redefined centre-back partnership
It’s really impressive to see that Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones have handled the defensive unit remarkably well in the absence of the two first choice centre-backs. United were unbeaten in all seven games when Rojo and Jones were CB. United may not have scored too many goals this season but, they are among the teams which have conceded fewer goals.
The worrying signs
Of course, Manchester United are not perfect and still there is much more work to do and a long way to go. Firstly, I think United are relying too much on their two veteran players – Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Michael Carrick. Yeah, it’s absolutely peachy to have both these players in your squad. But, over-reliance on them makes the team susceptible, because sooner or later you have to find the replacements for them. Everything doesn’t last forever. So, Jose Mourinho needs to develop a versatile team which doesn’t rely solely on a specific set of players.
It’s going well for Mourinho as of now. But, nothing can be taken for granted in this league, as we have already seen some major upsets.
Do you think these positive results in the festive period will turn around Manchester United’s season? Let me know.