|Ibrahimovic towers above all else to open his Old Trafford account|
On the night when it was supposed to be about Paul Pogba and his return to Manchester United, Zlatan Ibrahimovic ensured that by the end of Friday evening, conversations among Reds fans were dominated by him. The towering 6'5 striker powered above Jose Fonte, another six footer, to open the scoring on Friday evening against Southampton. He completed his brace with a well taken second half penalty and, at least according to him, would have gotten a third if Pogba had squared a chance for him late on.
What fans and neutrals are quickly coming to terms with about the Swede is that his body frame allows him the sort of dominance in the air that most strikers moving to England are asked to be wary about. Wes Morgan and Jose Fonte might not be the best centre backs that Ibra will come up against in the league but they are the illustration of a typical premier league aerial battle on a matchday. That he has easily dominated battles against the pair has settled major concerns about his transfer to English football.
More than that though, Ibrahimovic is extremely athletic for a soon to be 35 year old. That he is always willing to go airborne to execute scissor kicks is testament to this. His touch upfront is a breath of fresh air too given what we've become accustomed to in that position and the Singing Section will undoubtedly keep reminding whoever cares to hear that we got him on a free!
Friday was supposed to be all about Pogba though. The Frenchman played the full 90 minutes despite training for just a week with his new teammates. His shift drew comparisons with Patrick Vieira back in his native France but thankfully for United, he has much more to his game than what Vieira was all about. For starters, Pobga can beat a few players at close range, drawing a chunk of opposition players to him and therefore leaving the rest of his teammates free of attention.
In world football, he is the best at what he does. It's not even easy to find a player who can combine the tasks of holding a defence line and transitioning to attack until the penalty box. That energy and industry is what Jose Mouirnho will seek to harness going forward.
It's only two games in but at least we've already come to the conclusion that United are a different proposition this time round. There were imperfections in the game on Friday but given the pre-season schedule, most of the players deserve a stay of execution before judgement can be passed. Six points out of six means that United have marked themselves out as one of four sides with a 100% record going into the last fixture before the first International break.
August will become a perfect month if the Reds sign it off with victory over Hull City at the KCOM stadium on Saturday. The aim must be to build momentum ahead of the Manchester derby on September 10th. There is every chance that both sides will go into that game with maximum points. A look at the summit of the league table suggests that Manchester is where the league title will be resident come May next year. The build up to September 10th is well and truly underway.