Tuesday 25 October 2016

Zlatan's goal drought costing United after brilliant start

Having started his United career with five goals in his first five games, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has now gone over eight hours without finding the net.

The big Swede started his Old Trafford career like an absolute dream: he was aggressive, clinical and an imposing presence, pretty much everything we hoped and expected him to be.

He and United felt like a match made in heaven, a maverick figurehead in a rejuvenated squad with a newfound swagger. 

He scored against Leicester in the Community Shield and followed that with goals at Bournemouth and a double against Southampton to become the first player to score four goals in his first three appearances for the team. 
After that lightning start, only a goal against City and Zorya in the Europa League have followed.

It's true that form is temporary and class is permanent and every striker- no matter how good they are- goes through a goal drought but this is his longest for a decade- just shy of 500 hours- and his costly misses are adding up.

It isn't as if he isn't getting service and chances and has had the most shots of any Premier League player this season, 45, but failed to score with his last 30 attempts. 

He headed over from a good position from close range at 1-0 at Chelsea and had United's big moment at Anfield when he could only misdirect a poor header and should have done better. 

That's not to say he's been poor in the intervening games and indeed, against Leicester and Stoke in the league he was excellent. 

But in games where we don't score, he's been ineffective.

Watford he was poor, Hull too and in the Liverpool and Chelsea games this week he was almost anonymous- those two glaring misses apart. 

Other players, particularly the younger members of the squad, have time to settle, Pogba can become all he wants to become and it can take 2-3 years because he's still only young.

But for Zlatan, he was signed for now and really needs to rediscover his goalscoring touch to make the most of what could be his only season in England. 

Ibrahimovic is unlikely to be scrutinised as intensely as Wayne Rooney, whose struggles stretch back to Sir Alex's last season, but we are not scoring freely from open play and there is only so long we can countenance Ibrahimovic's profligacy. 

Maybe it's time to give him a breather and start Anthony Martial or Marcus Rashford as the focal point in attack. 

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