Sunday 14 August 2016

Bournemouth 1-3 United: Opening day talking points

1. Premier League new boys impress

United's starting line-up included two players making their full Premier League debuts- Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic- with both making significant contributions.
Bailly picked up where he left off against Leicester City last weekend with another Man-of-the-Match showing, despite being injured most of the week and only training once. 

He looked as solid as ever at the heart of the defence alongside the also excellent Daley Blind, and both earned praise from their new manager afterwards.
Ibrahimovic's hold-up play at the other end also impressed and his superb strike for the match-sealing third goal capped an eye-catching debut.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan came on for the final 15 minutes for his Premier League bow and became the first Armenian to feature in the top flight.

2. Another landmark Zlatan goal

Zlatan Ibrahimovic's fine 69th-minute strike was another landmark goal for the Swedish striker, who has now netted on his debut in the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1 and the Champions League.
He told reporters after the match that he "feels alive" in the English game and he certainly looked lively throughout the game at the Vitality Stadium.
His eye for goal is renowned, but it was his neat touches and link-up play coupled with his intelligent movement and passing that stood out and, rather tidily, his goal ensured United's no.8, no.9 and no.10 all netted on the South Coast.

3. Mourinho felt nerves

For a manager as decorated as Jose Mourinho, who has confidence and belief coursing through him, it was refreshing to hear him admit to some pre-match nerves.
"Yes, before the match a little bit, for somebody with many years of football to have that feeling is normal "
"Experience helps in football, but you always have a little feeling, which is good, I think" he said.
The win over Bournemouth ensured Mourinho maintained his impressive opening day Premier League record, which now reads won seven, drawn one. 

4. 250 up for Valencia

He's been one of United's star performers throughout pre-season and Antonio Valencia looked sharp once more in the victory at Bournemouth on Sunday, a special match for the winger-turned-full-back on his 250th appearance for the Reds.
United's main attacking threat came down the right and it was Valencia's cross to Anthony Martial than teed up Wayne Rooney to score.
The Ecuadorian, who has created two of Ibrahimovic's three goals for United, including the Community Shield winner, will hope to maintain his strong form with Mourinho clearly impressed by what he has seen so far.

5. Mata off the mark

Juan Mata's opener for United came at a crucial time in the match as the Spaniard took advantage of a terrible Simon Francis backpass to steal in and put us ahead five minutes before half-time.
Some had questioned whether or not the talented and charismatic playmaker would fit into Mourinho's plans after the Portuguese sold him to United from Chelsea in 2014, but Mata clearly has an important role to play in this side.
Remarkably, the match at Bournemouth was his 52nd consecutive league game for United, having been ever present since February 2015.

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