Friday, 17 February 2017

Zlat will do it for Reds as United chase possible cup treble

It's almost a year to the day since we suffered one of the lowest points in the club's history in the obscure Danish outpost of Midtjylland.

United slumped to a woefully embarrassing 2-1 loss against the part-timers and, although, we turned it round with a 5-1 second leg win (enter stage left Marcus Rashford), it effectively signalled the end for LVG.

Now, however, under Mourinho, the sense that something special is building at Old Trafford continues to grow.

The Reds are the only club in the country that continue to fight on four fronts, the Saint-Etienne win was a fifth clean sheet in a row and - the aberration at Hull last month aside - we haven't lost for three months.

Far from the flop many had predicted, Zlatan's now up to 23 goals for the season and, even for a manager as shrewd as Jose, his signing has been a masterstroke. 

The 3-0 win over the Ligue 1 side was far from fluid and indeed the scoreline flattered United. 
At 1-0, the Reds had looked set for a tricky return meeting in France next week, but Zlatan's first hat-trick for the club has now rendered that match a near formality.

The second game will take place three days before the EFL Cup final and Jose will now have the luxury of giving several key players the night off to rest and prepare for Wembley. 

It wasn't Zlatan's greatest treble: a deflected free-kick, a five yard tap in complete with a penalty and his general performance rarely went above average but it could turn out to be one of his most important. 

The mercurial Swede has 11 titles and three domestic cups to his name, but a major European trophy remains missing from his otherwise immaculate CV.
This year's Europa League final will be played in Stockholm at the very stadium where the Swedish FA will have a bronze statue of their country's greatest ever player.

Of course, there's a long way to go yet in the tournament but there seems a sense of fate in completing the collection in the great man's homeland. 

As an added fillip, glory in the Europa League would provide United with an automatic passage through to the group stages of next season's Champions League. 

United travel to Championship strugglers Blackburn in the FA Cup fifth round on Sunday looking for another piece of history - we've never successfully retained that trophy. 

Jose is rediscovering United's aura once more and the future looks bright...

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