Zlatan stole the limelight despite the much awaited “re-debut” of Paul Pogba at Old Trafford, as the striker stuck twice to make sure Manchester United earned their 3 points against Southampton, while the Frenchman played the whole game, and was impressive as well with his dribbles and vision of the game, and looked very much in-form despite missing the opening game last weekend.
United made a good start in the first half, with Pogba having the first attempt at goal, but as the half wore on, the Saints created some chances of their own thru’ Tadic and Long, but not dangerous enough to trouble De Gea. Past the half-hour mark, United threatened again at the other end, and were duly rewarded on the 36th minute. Rooney collected Valencia’s thru’ pass almost near the corner flag, and sent in a quality cross for Zlatan to rise and thump past Forster into the far corner. 1-0 at half time, United had the lead, but could still improve.
The second half had barely started that United were under pressure, with Tadic managing to find the net, but the Red Devils were saved by an offside flag from the assistant on the far side. United tried to respond immediately with a run from Martial ending up with Forster keeping out his low shot, but minutes later United managed to make the break. Shaw was tripped by Clasie in the box, and Zlatan stepped up to take the resulting penalty. With a perfect calm, he sent the keeper the wrong way to double United’s lead, and add a third goal to his name in 2 games in the EPL. Southampton tried to get back in the game, but could have found themselves further behind instead, as Martial completely forgot about team-play, and tried to went on a solo finish, only for Van Dijk to block his shot, leaving an unmarked Zlatan almost furious in the process, as it could have been his hat-trick. Both teams had chances to score as the game wore on, but eventually the Red Devils came out winners on a 2-0 scoreline, with De Gea managing to keep a first cleansheet in the process.
Despite not scoring, Pogba had a very good game as well, while Bailly looked rock-solid in defense with some comparing him to Vidic. Still, that little spark is required so that the goals start flowing for United, as they went a little too easily to defensive mode once the second goal was scored, and relying only on counter-attacks to move forward from thereon. Hopefully Mourinho will work on that as well for the coming games.