Ibrahimovic double inspires United stroll
SWANSEA: Zlatan Ibrahimovic eased the pressure on Jose Mourinho as the Manchester United striker’s double sealed a 3-1 win at struggling Swansea yesterday. With only one victory in their previous seven Premier League games, United manager Mourinho had come under mounting pressure at Old Trafford.
However, for one day at least, it was all smiles for United as they poured even greater misery on a Swansea side that look destined for a long struggle to avoid relegation.
Swedish star Ibrahimovic struck twice before half-time after France midfielder Paul Pogba had produced a stylish opener as United ran riot. Mike van der Hoorn got a consolation for Swansea in the second half, but there was never any chance of a fightback from the hapless hosts.
United started as they have in so many games this season, with a degree of hesitancy. They were clumsy in the midfield and lacking direction or accuracy in the final third. Still, what stood in front of them was a Swansea team equally short on confidence.
With only one league win this season, Bob Bradley’s side are languishing in the relegation zone. So, once United settled, they enjoyed a glut of possession. And as Pogba became increasingly influential, so the visitors began to ask serious questions of Bradley’s team.
The first of those came on 15 minutes when Pogba and Wayne Rooney created the danger and Swansea couldn’t clear their lines, leaving Pogba to hit an unstoppable shot from 20 yards into the top corner of Lukasz Fabianski’s goal.
Marouane Fellaini came within a yard of making it 2-0 two minutes later after a sublime piece of footwork from Ibrahimovic.
Swansea simply had no answer to United’s incisive raids and it came as no surprise when Ibrahimovic lost his marker on the edge of the box and beat Fabianski with a fine strike from 20 yards in the 21st minute.
United sensed their opportunity to kill the contest and duly set off in pursuit of a third. It came 12 minutes from the interval when Ibrahimovic popped up in acres and beat Fabianski from eight yards. The Swansea fans responded with calls of ‘we want our club back’ and suggesting the decision to sell to the current American owners was all about greed.
It was little more than a training ground run out thereafter for United, who popped the ball around with increasingly ease and confidence, while Swansea retreated towards their own goal in an attempt to limit the damage. Having been booed from the field at half time, Swansea made two changes in personnel. Jefferson Montero and Modou Barrow entered the fray as Bradley sought a way back into the game. By now, United were happy to go through the motions. They continued to pass the ball with ease and comfort and denied Swansea a foothold until the 69th minute. Gylfi Sigurdsson whipped in a free kick from the right and van der Hoorn beat David De Gea with a firm header from eight yards. Rejuvenated and sensing a chance, Swansea gave it their all in the final 20 minutes. Sigurdsson came into his own and Barrow and Montero caused problems out wide. However, United remained firm and duly helped
SWANSEA: Manchester United’s Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic (R) jumps and kicks the air as he celebrates scoring his team’s second goal with Manchester United’s English midfielder Ashley Young (L) and Manchester United’s English defender Phil Jones during the English Premier League football match between Swansea City and Manchester United at The Liberty Stadium in Swansea, south Wales yesterday.