Premier League: Zlatan, Pogba fire as Manchester United cruise against Swansea
Jose Mourinho’s wretched week ended on a high note as Manchester United’s big guns Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba finally began firing, both finding the target in a 3-1 win at dismal Swansea City on Sunday.Updated: Nov 07, 2016 08:28 IST
Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s double and Paul Pogba’s volley ended Manchester United’s four-match winless run in the Premier League and kept Bob Bradley without a victory as Swansea manager.
The 3-1 win for Jose Mourinho’s United on Sunday means Swansea is only off the bottom due to Sunderland having an inferior goal difference.
Bradley, the first American manager in the Premier League, has quickly discovered just how hard it will be keeping the club in the world’s richest soccer competition. Swansea’s 10-game winless sequence marks their worst run since being promoted to the Premier League in 2011, with Bradley collecting only one point in the four games since he replaced the fired Francesco Guidolin.
United is sixth, three points behind Tottenham, which drew 1-1 at Arsenal.
Swansea is probably the opposition that any stuttering team would choose to play right now. Ibrahimovic, whose first goal was the 25,000th since the Premier League’s inception in 1992, had gone without a domestic goal in almost two months.
Hit by injury and suspensions, Mourinho made five changes from the side held by Burnley in their previous league game while the manager watched from the stands due to his touchline suspension.
Phil Jones and Michael Carrick made their first league starts of the season and captain Wayne Rooney returned after being out of the starting line-up since Sept. 18.
United was on the front foot from the start and Pogba rewarded that superiority with a fine 15th-minute strike. Pogba chipped a pass into Rooney’s path and, although Mike van der Hoorn beat Ibrahimovic to his lay-off, the world’s most expensive player had followed up the play to unleash a 20-yard volley for his second league goal.
Marouane Fellaini almost doubled United’s lead with another volley but the second goal soon arrived.
Rooney fed Ibrahimovic from the left and he shrugged off Ki Sung-yueng to deliver a low drive which goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski might have dealt better with in the Swansea goal.
It was a landmark goal in Premier League history but, more importantly as far as Ibrahimovic was concerned, it was the end of a goal drought in the league which stretched back over 10 hours.
Ibrahimovic only had to wait until the 33rd minute for his next goal with Rooney again the provider, the Swede powering through Angel Rangel’s timid tackle to fire high past Fabianski.
The mood began to turn ugly among Swansea supporters as they turned on board members who sold their shares in July to the American investors — Steve Kaplan, a minority owner and executive vice chairman of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, and Jason Levien, a part-owner of D.C. United.
The only bright moment for the hosts came when Van der Hoorn escaped the attentions of Pogba and Jones to head in a consolation in the 69th minute.
First Published: Nov 06, 2016 22:46 IST