We learnt from Jose’s un­happy re­turn to the Bridge

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

are dev­as­tat­ing when they play at full pelt.

It’s time to talk about Ibrahi­movic’s form

One goal in eight. It is a trou­bling record, but it would not be so trou­bling if the per­for­mances on top were con­vinc­ing. Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic ar­rived like he was made for both United and the Pre­mier League, but the cock-of-the-walk is strug­gling to score from six yards out.

Crit­i­cism of his miss at Liver­pool last Mon­day was a lit­tle un­just, but he was handed a far more pre­sentable chance in the first-half with the score still at 1-0 here. Again, it was a header. Again, he was static. Again, he missed.

To para­phrase the cliche, his class is un­doubted, but his form is now ques­tion­able.

Moses res­ur­rec­tion

The chants of “you’re not spe­cial any­more” which some Chelsea sup­port­ers used to greet Mour­inho were a lit­tle sur­pris­ing, per­haps, but the cho­ruses for Vic­tor Moses raised more eye­brows.

To say that the Nige­ria in­ter­na­tional was a for­got­ten man upon Conte’s ar­rival this sum­mer is an un­der­state­ment. Yet here, on his 100th Pre­mier League start, Moses looked as much of fix­ture in this team as its star men.

Ear­lier this week, he told of how Mour­inho had barely spoke to him dur­ing his sec­ond ten­ure here.

“I thought in my head, ‘He’s got his own play­ers al­ready,” he re­called.

Conte, on the other hand, has ar­rived at Stam­ford Bridge with very few pre-con­cep­tions about his squad. He and Moses are reap­ing the ben­e­fits.

Pogba needs time

Maybe de­ploy­ing Paul Pogba in two dif­fer­ent po­si­tions, with rad­i­cally dif­fer­ent re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, for three games in the space of six days isn’t ex­pect­ing too much of the world’s most ex­pen­sive foot­baller. Yet it feels like he is not be­ing af­forded the chance to shine.

Af­ter his brace from mid­field against Fener­bahce he found him­self back play­ing off the striker, as he did with dis­ci­pline, if not dis­tinc­tion, at An­field. His best foot­ball at Ju­ven­tus came op­er­at­ing in a cen­tral three, with li­cense to run and bus­tle, to live up to his rep­u­ta­tion as one of the world foot­ball’s elite.

The scru­tiny of Pogba’s start at United will con­tinue, but Mour­inho’s re­luc­tance to his player in his best po­si­tion de­serves more at­ten­tion.

United are six points off the top

United re­main in the ti­tle race, just as Conte’s Chelsea did af­ter their own horror show at Arse­nal three League games be­fore this one.

For all the crit­i­cisms that can be lev­elled at him, the over­rid­ing feel­ing among the club’s more sen­si­ble sup­port­ers is that Mour­inho is the man to get it right.

One, speak­ing to the United We Stand pod­cast ahead of Mon­day’s draw at Liver­pool, de­scribed him as “reek­ing of United”. What that smell is ex­actly is un­clear, but the sen­ti­ment is fully jus­ti­fied.

Jurgen Klopp, iron­i­cally, put it best af­ter his side failed to take pole on Satur­day, ask­ing: “Who wants to be top of the league in Oc­to­ber? Who?” Too many, that’s who. – The In­de­pen­dent

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