Five things we learned from Manchester United 5-2 GalatasarayPublished July 31, 2016
Zlatan Ibrahimovic marked his Manchester United debut with a goal inside the opening four minutes, as Jose Mourinho’s side claimed a 5-2 victory against Galatasaray in Gothenburg.
All eyes pre-match were of course focused on the iconic Swede, and the 34-year-old didn’t disappoint fans in his home country, and opened his United account with a superb bicycle kick with only a matter of minutes on the clock.
Wayne Rooney grabbed a brace, and Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini also netted, as Mourinho’s side registered a comfortable victory in the Ullevi Stadium on Saturday.
In the aftermath of United’s victory, we at Free Bets, take a look at five things were learned from the match, as the Red Devils gear up for the start of the new Premier League season in just under two weeks.
Typical Zlatan starts off with a bang
Not one to pass up an opportunity to steal the limelight, Ibra’s performance in Sweden already has everyone talking.
United will hope Zlatan’s solid start is a sign of things to come this season. The striker produced, some eye-catching flicks and smart touches, and United fans will take great encouragement from his first appearance in the famous red shirt.
United’s formidable attack
It looks like United have finally got their attacking groove back. Supporters at Old Trafford had been starved of any sort of attacking emphasis under former boss Louis Van Gaal, but judging by Saturday’s encounter, Mourinho’s men look like a real formidable force upfront.
With Anthony Martial on one flank, Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the other, and Wayne Rooney in-behind focal point Ibrahimovic, United will surely have an attack to be reckoned with next season.
Oh, and there’s also a certain 18-year-old, named Marcus Rashford, sitting on the bench too.
Whilst United may have indeed found their rhythm upfront, the defensive display on show in Gothenburg will surely be a cause for concern for the Portuguese coach.
With Chris Smalling injured, the responsibility in defence was given to Daley Blind, and new £30m signing Eric Bailly, with both players looking shaky during parts of the match.
Utility-man Blind, is not a natural centre-back, whilst the talented but young Bailly is still a work in progress.
Mourinho has claimed that the expected signing of Paul Pogba will be the club’s last piece of transfer business this summer, but the ‘Special One’ may be tempted to dip into the transfer market once more, in order to bring in defensive reinforcements.
Wayne Rooney makes his case
There has been much talk about club captain Wayne Rooney’s future in the United starting XI, but the 30-year-old’s contribution on Saturday will have helped his cause no end.
Jose Mourinho has already made it clear that he views the England skipper as more of a number 10 these days, so it was no surprise to see Rooney play in that role during his first appearance under his new boss.
Despite starting rather sluggishly, Rooney managed to impose himself on the game, and the forward’s brace may well have earned him a starting spot when United kick-off their Premier League campaign at Bournemouth on August 14.
Mourinho knows his starting XI v Bournemouth
United’s starting line-up on Saturday may indeed reflect the way he sets his side up come the first game of the new Premier League season, in just under two-weeks.
Bar the injured Chris Smalling, who will be suspended for the trip to Bournemouth, United looked extremely strong on paper for a pre-season friendly, which may suggest Jose is already preparing his side for competitive action.
It looks like Antonio Valencia will start the season at right back, whilst front four of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Anthony Martial, Rooney and Ibrahimovic will be his go to from the off.
Of course, the signing of a certain £100m Frenchman may alter Mourinho’s plans in the middle of the park between now and August 14.