Manchester United 2-0 Southampton

20 Aug

Zlatan Ibrahimovic


Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored three times in two Premier League games for Manchester United

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice on his home debut as Manchester United claimed a comfortable win over Southampton to maintain their 100% start to the Premier League season.

The Swedish striker headed home from Wayne Rooney’s cross from the right.

He scored a fourth goal in three matches from the penalty spot after Jordy Clasie tripped Luke Shaw.

Paul Pogba, United’s £89m world-record signing from Juventus, made an energetic full league debut.

Reaction – Mourinho praises “fantastic” Pogba

Zlatan makes his presence felt

Zlatan Ibrahimovic<!–

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was Paris St-Germain’s regular penalty taker last season, and has taken on the job at Old Trafford

Ibrahimovic’s force of personality could be every bit as much of an asset as his ability to United this season.

The 34-year-old, signed on a free transfer after leaving Paris St-Germain at the end of last season, marked his home debut with a confident display that brought warm appreciation from the home supporters.

Having scored in the Community Shield win over Leicester City and United’s Premier League weekend victory at Bournemouth, Ibrahimovic went into the match in fine form.

The Swede’s movement was significant in a United attack that looks far livelier than it did under the management of Louis van Gaal last season.

Intriguingly, Ibrahimovic appears to have bumped captain Wayne Rooney from penalty duties. He was quick to take on the responsibility when United were awarded a spot-kick; his finish was his 25th successful conversion from his last 28 attempts.

Pogba eases his way in

Paul Pogba heatmap<!–

Paul Pogba started in a holding midfield role alongside Marouane Fellaini, but frequently got forward, as his heatmap shows (with Manchester United’s direction of attack being from left to right)

Pogba’s return to Old Trafford, four years after he left for Juventus without having made a Premier League start, has been eagerly awaited by United fans this summer.

His second debut for the club was delayed because of a suspension held over from his time in Italy but, with that served, manager Jose Mourinho tried to warn supporters against expecting too much too soon.

The midfielder is still getting back to full speed, having been given a break after helping France reach the Euro 2016 final – and that showed in his performance.

Paul Pogba<!–

Paul Pogba made seven appearances in all competitions during his first spell at Manchester United

However, there was plenty of evidence to suggest that Mourinho was right to spend so much money to bring Pogba back to Old Trafford. His display was a positive one, with more touches and more passes in the opposing half than any team-mate.

One surging run towards the end of the first half left four Southampton players in his wake, and demonstrated his power, while a second-half header from a Juan Mata corner flew just over the bar.

He did fade as the match reached its later stages – undoubtedly a result of the fact that he has not had a proper pre-season – but the Frenchman summoned up enough energy to blast a shot wide at the end of a late counter-attack.

A goal would have rounded off Pogba’s night perfectly, but he was happy enough. For him, victory was the perfect way to celebrate the 26th birthday of his brother, Partick Thistle striker Mathias Pogba.

Mathias Pogba<!–

Older brother Mathias was the first member of the Pogba family to score this season, thanks to a Scottish League Cup goal for Partick Thistle at Stenhousemuir in July

Southampton’s Old Trafford run ends

Another summer has brought yet another squad overhaul at Southampton, with Sadio Mane, Graziano Pelle and Victor Wanyama all leaving the club, along with manager Ronald Koeman.

Claude Puel, Koeman’s replacement, is still finding his feet in the Premier League, and the same could be said of the reshaped squad he leads.

The visitors had their moments at Old Trafford, with Shane Long going close and Dusan Tadic seeing a goal ruled out for a push moments before Ibrahimovic’s decisive second.

Losing midfielder Oriol Romeu to an early injury did not help them, but having won 1-0 on each of their last two visits to Old Trafford, they rarely looked likely to extend that run.

Man of the match – Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Man Utd)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic<!–

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored 41 goals in his last 31 league matches, a record going back to last season with Paris St-Germain

Ibrahimovic was the star of Ligue 1 last season, scoring 50 goals in all competitions last season as Paris St-Germain completed a domestic clean sweep.

His self-confidence has never been in question, but there were doubts as to whether he could be prolific in the Premier League at the age of 34.

However, his fine start at Old Trafford has given United fans plenty of reason for cheer.

Reaction

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, speaking to BBC Sport: “It’s a great feeling. I’m very happy. It’s my brother’s birthday so I am happier.

“I was relaxed, no nerves, I played my game. The first ball of the match, I lost it, but got used to it. After that, I felt better.

“I came here to win, that is what I always wanted. It’s a top club. We need to get used to winning and carry on like this. We dream big. United are a big club, I know we will do big things this season.”

Southampton striker Shane Long: “They are a good side, but I thought we played well. We passed the ball around well, but it took us a bit of time to get going again.

“We need to change that. We need to be right at teams from the start. We’ll learn from this. We caused them some problems and we can look at some positives.”

The stats you need to know

  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic has struck 13 goals in his last eight league games against teams managed by Claude Puel – having been prolific for previous club Paris St-Germain against Puel’s Nice.
  • Three of Ibrahimovic’s last six league goals have been with his head – this after none of his previous 19 had come through headers.
  • Manchester United have not lost a league home game after leading at half-time since May 1984 (1-2 vs Ipswich).
  • Paul Pogba made his first Premier League appearance for Manchester United since 18 March 2012, 1,616 days ago.
  • Wayne Rooney made his 600th club appearance in this match (523 for Man Utd, 77 for Everton).
  • Manchester United have not lost a home league game on a Friday since April 1950, when they lost 2-0 to Birmingham, winning 14 and drawing six games since.

What’s next?

Manchester United have a Saturday trip to Hull City on 27 August, with Southampton at home to Sunderland on the same day.

Live Text

Match ends, Manchester United 2, Southampton 0.

Second Half ends, Manchester United 2, Southampton 0.

Attempt missed. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Henrikh Mkhitaryan following a fast break.

Charlie Austin (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Paul Pogba (Manchester United).

Substitution, Manchester United. Chris Smalling replaces Wayne Rooney.

Attempt missed. Dusan Tadic (Southampton) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.

Attempt missed. Dusan Tadic (Southampton) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Matt Targett.

Substitution, Southampton. Jay Rodriguez replaces Shane Long.

Matt Targett (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United).

Substitution, Manchester United. Ander Herrera replaces Anthony Martial.

Attempt missed. Virgil van Dijk (Southampton) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg with a cross following a set piece situation.

Shane Long (Southampton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Eric Bailly (Manchester United).

Foul by Dusan Tadic (Southampton).

Antonio Valencia (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Luke Shaw.

Substitution, Manchester United. Henrikh Mkhitaryan replaces Juan Mata.

Attempt missed. Shane Long (Southampton) header from the right side of the six yard box misses to the left. Assisted by Cédric Soares with a cross.

Foul by Virgil van Dijk (Southampton).

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Manchester United. Zlatan Ibrahimovic tries a through ball, but Wayne Rooney is caught offside.

Charlie Austin (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United).

Substitution, Southampton. Charlie Austin replaces Steven Davis.

Attempt missed. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Attempt blocked. Anthony Martial (Manchester United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Wayne Rooney.

Attempt missed. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Juan Mata with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Matt Targett.

Attempt missed. Jordy Clasie (Southampton) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Nathan Redmond.

Foul by Dusan Tadic (Southampton).

Antonio Valencia (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Attempt missed. Nathan Redmond (Southampton) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Steven Davis with a headed pass.

José Fonte (Southampton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United).

Attempt blocked. Shane Long (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Matt Targett.

Goal! Manchester United 2, Southampton 0. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

Penalty conceded by Jordy Clasie (Southampton) after a foul in the penalty area.

Penalty Manchester United. Luke Shaw draws a foul in the penalty area.

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