By Harry Ogilvie
- Jose Mourinho names an unchanged team
- Bailly, Lukaku, Pogba and Martial net for United
Manchester United travelled to Wales to face a weakened Swansea City side. After star man, Gylfi Sigurdsson left to join Everton earlier this week.
The Icelandic international who has regularly been a thorn in United’s side joined the Merseyside club for £45 million.
Jose Mourinho opted to stick with the same starting eleven that defeated a poor West Ham team 4-0. This meant despite coming on and grabbing both a goal and an assist, Anthony Martial would start on the bench.
This was probably down to the impressive performances from Mata, Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford.
The boss would also be hoping the centre back partnership of Eric Bailly and Phil Jones would produce another solid performance and continue their good form.
The midfield duo of Matic and Pogba would also retain their places to keep the spine strong and physical as ever.
Bailly Nets First United Goal
Manchester United started the stronger of the two teams, dominating possession for the most part and passed the ball fluently.
However, apart from hitting the bar, chances were few and far between until Daley Blind whipped in a corner which Pogba headed off the bar, only for Bailly to tap the ball in for his first United goal.
The goal came at the perfect time, just before half-time and after a strong performance against West Ham, it was nothing less than the Ivorian deserved.
It was exactly what United needed after a frustrating first half which seen Pogba being booked for a kick out and Rashford voicing his frustration as he felt he was being fouled regularly and the referee was doing little to protect him.
In the second half, Swansea appeared far more troubling as they kept possession a bit better and attempted to create more chances and threaten United’s backline.
The Swans looked especially dangerous from set pieces which surprised reds considering the size of the United team.
Three Goal Blitz Seals The Three Points
However, United took advantage of Swansea’s wasteful finishing as they showed exactly how to be clinical, scoring three goals in four minutes to put United 4-0 up.
Lukaku put United 2-0 up when Mkhitaryan played the ball through for the Belgian to finish comfortably.
The third goal came from Paul Pogba after another great assist from Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The French £89 million midfielder finished perfectly as Fabianski rushed out allowing Pogba to put the ball over his head and into the net.
Pogba then proceeded to grab an assist as he played through Anthony Martial who dribbled his way inside and stuck the ball right in the corner.
The young winger has once again staked his claim to a starting spot. He now has two goals in two games, as well as an assist. United saw the game out after a jaw-dropping last 10 minutes.
Bailly And Jones Impress At The Back
The best performance of the game came from Phil Jones, who despite being linked with a move away at the beginning of the summer has began the season with some unbelievable performances.
The Englishman has made himself undroppable with his impressive defensive showings. He’s proven himself to be reliable and exceptionally solid as he has done everything asked of him in recent games.
Eric Bailly is another player who deserves a nomination for man of the match for his defensive showing.
The 23 year old has been a sensational find from Mourinho and he looks like he is going to continue his form from last season.
Bailly, like Jones did everything asked of him as well as scoring the first goal at a crucial time in the game. This was the former Villarreal centre-back’s first goal in professional football.
Martial Impresses From Bench Once Again
The showing in opening eighty minutes was not particularly great but in the closing ten minutes, United really came to life and a big reason for this was Anthony Martial.
As soon as the Frenchman came on, United looked far more threatening.
The substitute was involved in nearly all the goals after he came on. He gave the ball to Mkhitaryan who laid the ball off for Lukaku’s goal, in addition to scoring a goal himself.
He made a massive impact after he came on and looked very dangerous. Martial definitely deserves a starting place after his performances against West Ham and now, Swansea.
Paul Pogba also appeared to come to life in the last 15 minutes; controlling possession, playing incisive forward passes and dragging the side forward with his trademark marauding runs.
His pass for Martial’s goal allowed the winger to control the ball comfortably and take on the defenders in front of him.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan also deserves a huge amount of credit for his start of the season, grabbing two assists against both West Ham last week and Swansea this week.
The Armenian only got one assist last season. He already has four assists this season. This has led to claims he could break Mesut Ozil’s record of 20 Premier League assists.
The Manager’s View
Jose Mourinho said there were “differences” in the performance compared to West Ham, but thinks “the same kind of consistency, confidence and discipline” were there.
But he said there was “obviously, a period where they created chances. They brought emotion to the game. But it was always in control.”
When asked about the way his side were playing, he said “maybe, (happy) is not the right word. But I like the confidence.”
The former Chelsea boss also showed that he now trusts his side by saying “after the second goal, we wanted to score more, not shut the door.”
This shows he now trusts his side’s defensive ability and will allow them to go for the throat when possible. He said he decided to “let the horse run freely” and that “they were magnificent”.
Mourinho is clearly very pleased with the performance and rightly so after yet another big win.
After yet another flawless performance, United and Jose Mourinho deserve massive credit; scoring 8 goals and conceding none.
This Manchester United squad looks like the first since Fergie’s era to be capable of a serious title challenge. There is finally a superb spine to the team, along with decent depth in almost every position.
Jose will of course be looking to ensure his team continue the fine form but everyone knows what he is capable of achieving in his second season.
He has successfully won the league at every club he’s managed in the second season. This is a statistic that bolds well for United fans everywhere.
Although, we should not expect a 4-0 win every week, reds have every right to be excited.
But we should also remember that we are yet to play any of last season’s top six and we are only two games into 2017/18. Having said that, United should expect to be right up there.