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Jose Mourinho was forced to watch from the stands as his side blitzed past Swansea City with a 3-1 victory on Sunday at the Liberty stadium.
The Portuguese manager- not for the first time according to a few betting site reviews– had been issued with a one match ban from the touchlines following an altercation with a match official when United hosted Burnley.
The absence however did not have a bearing on his side, as his charges appeared in complete control from the offset, with the breakthrough coming in the fifteenth minute through Paul Pogba.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic doubled the lead six minutes later before adding his second of the day towards the interval.
United may have let their foot off the gas in the second half when the Swans pulled one back- with effects of jaded legs evident after the midweek trip from Istanbul- but the Red Devils did just enough to claim all three points with their first win since annihilating Leicester back in September.
Here are three key observations from the win.
Carrick, what a gem
In the words of Mourinho himself, “[Michael] Carrick was the control, [Marouane] Fellaini was the balance and Pogba was the freedom”.
With [Ander] Herrera suspended, the veteran midfielder dictated forward play immensely, granting the world’s most expensive player with the much fancied freedom which he used to great effect.
Much like he did at Juventus, Pogba was at will to cut from the left, complementing the attack as he grabbed the opener.
At 35, Carrick may be unable to feature for United week-after-week, but his selection cannot be overlooked with the return of Herrera nonetheless.
Captain’s performance by Wazza
Wayne Rooney may have thrown a curveball at everyone when he scored a 30-yard screamer against Fenerbahce in the Europa League, but the 31-year old put on a master class performance, providing two assists during the rout.
That took him to third, behind Ryan Giggs and Frank Lampard in the ranking of all time assists.
I can only hope the Manchester United skipper keeps up with his fine run of form.
Ibra drought finally over
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and milestones are seemingly inseparable.
His brace against the Swans- finally ending his goal drought- took the former Barcelona striker to 400 career goals, which coincidentally was the 25,000th goal of the Premier League era.
Ibrahimovic however received his fifth yellow card of the season during the encounter, which means he shall be suspended when United host Arsenal right after the international break.
Pogba too is walking a tight rope having already accumulated four yellow cards thus far into the season: but we all know he’ll get his fifth against the Gunners.
No Zlatan, no problem. Bye Zlatan, hello Rashford!
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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