Manchester United vs. Southampton Review

Zlatan 2

Manchester United enjoyed a fine evening as they continue to sit top of the table after cruising past Southampton in a 2-0 win. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was absolutely on top of his game as he fired in both of United’s goals but every other United player also had a role to play as Southampton slumped to defeat.

The Perfect Debut 

Manchester United Paul Pogba debut

Paul Pogba could hardly have asked for a better debut return to Manchester United. He controlled the play, dictated the tempo, orchestrated attacks and linked perfectly between defense and attack just like every good midfielder should. He was the epitome of what it means to be a central midfielder in fact, doing absolutely everything in the game. He was the pass master of the team, he was the play-maker, he was the linchpin, the orchestrator, the tough tackling defensive midfielder, he was absolutely everything Manchester United needed him to be against Southampton. Pogba constantly won possession back for his team and then distributed it accordingly. The French midfielder was so confident, so comfortable on the ball, always urging other players to get forward so that he could be the distributor and orchestrator of United’s attacks. He had 103 touches on the ball, 30 more than any other Manchester United player. Pogba also won 8 dribbles, just dangling his way through the opposition all game long and at the same time he was also a constant threat to score, taking 4 shots, 1 of which was an excellent opportunity to open his account. Paul Pogba put in a man of the match performance against Southampton and could not have asked for a better debut.

The Zlatan Effect 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Manchester United

It’s only been two games but so far so good for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his goal to game ratio is better so far in the Premier League than it was in Ligue 1. Few could have imagined Ibrahimovic getting off to such a good, flying start to his Manchester United career and now he looks like the man to lead United to the title. His link up play with Wayne Rooney was also excellent and it was that duo who combined for Manchester United’s first goal. Rooney put in a picture-perfect cross high in the air and Ibrahimovic met it better than he could have ever hoped for after a high leap and headed it home with power into the bottom corner. With all the other players around Wayne Rooney being as talented as they are, it takes the pressure off of him and allows him to just relax a little more and do what he is good at like picking out the perfect pass from anywhere on the field. At times for Manchester United last season and England at Euro 2016, Wayne Rooney was asked to do too much. Now with all of these other players around him, he will be able to kick-start his career to that next level again and become even better under Jose Mourinho than he ever was under Louis Van Gaal.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs. Southampton

Luke Shaw was the man who won the penalty early on in the second half after a clumsy tackle from Jordy Clasie, and it was Zlatan again to step up and score another fine goal. From the moment it left his foot, he ran away celebrating and what a penalty it was, as it could not have been any more accurate nor powerful. No goalkeeper in the world would have stood a chance.

Contenders For The Title

Pog and Zlatan 

Southampton weren’t bad on Friday, but they were still comfortably beaten by United who could have easily had three or four more goals. A few players from the Saints looked good, most notably Virgil Van Dijk who singlehandedly stopped three consecutive attacks from going in with tough tackles and blocks but Manchester United were just that much better and always looked the more likely side to score and win the match. Their link-up play, togetherness and team fight was excellent on Friday and now they look like serious title contenders. With Ibrahimovic, Rooney, Mkhitaryan, Martial and Pogba all in the team at the same time they seriously could destroy and roll over weaker teams this season but at the same time tactically outwit the big teams thanks to the tactical genius of their manager.

Player Ratings – Manchester United 2-0 Southampton 

GK De Gea – 6.5
RB Valencia – 7.5
CB Bailly – 8
CB Blind – 7
LB Shaw – 8
DM Fellaini – 7.5
DM Pogba – 9
RAM Mata – 7
AM Rooney – 7.5
LAM Martial – 6.5
CF Ibrahimovic – 9AM Mkhitaryan – 6.5
CM Herrera – 5.5
CB Smalling – 5
GK Forster – 5.5
RB Cedric – 6
CB Van Dijk – 7
CB Fonte – 6
LB Targett – 7
DM Romeu – 5
CM  Hojbjerg – 6.5
CM Davis – 6
AM Tadic – 6.5
RS Long – 6.5
LS Redmond – 5.5DM Clasie – 4.5
RW Rodriguez – 5
ST Austin – 5

Man of the Match: Paul Pogba

Manchester United Paul Pogba debut

Giving it to Paul Pogba over Zlatan Ibrahimovic because of how influential Pogba was on this team tonight. 8 dribbles, 71 passes, 103 touches and 4 shots. He was everywhere on the pitch and was an amazingly important member to Manchester United’s team tonight.

Conclusion:

Southampton weren’t poor, but Manchester United were just far too good for them to handle on the day. Jose Mourinho’s side looks a very impressive outfit and with all the attractive players coming together, playing free and relaxed and linking up so well, they could be a seriously deadly team to watch out for in the future.

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