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He may have a cocky, idiosyncratic sense of humor off the pitch, but on it, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has proven to be of prodigious value for Manchester United.
The 35-year old put up a sterling performance as the Red Devils overcame a buoyant Southampton side to clinch the EFL Cup with a 3-2 victory on Sunday afternoon at Wembley.
It was ‘Zlatan time’ as early as the nineteenth minute when the striker put United ahead with a ferocious free kick.
Jesse Lingard doubled the lead for Jose Mourinho’s charges, but the Man United defense creaked under the weight of expectation: conceding two quick fire goals in between the interval courtesy of January signing Manolo Gabbiadini.
The Italian may have stolen the show for Southampton, but it was Ibrahimovic who hogged all the headlines by grabbing a last gasp winner to deliver the silverware.
Feeds off pressure
Manchester United have markedly improved as the season has progressed, with their Bosman transfer living up to the mark.
Although everyone was fully aware of his exponential ability and sheer innate winning mentality, many still ruled him out at the start of the season: citing his age and intensity of the English game as impediments towards his acclimatization.
His settlement in England has however been massively influenced by Jose Mourinho, with whom he worked in tandem with at Inter Milan.
The English Premier League may be a different ball game from Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1, but the 35-year old has graced the game with fair style and panache: scoring 26 goals across all competitions since registering his debut against Leicester City in the Community Shield.
A partner in Pogba
Much of Zlatan’s ascendancy and fortune this season has been attributed to the quality of those playing around him: none more so than Paul Pogba.
In fact, all of the Frenchman’s five assists thus far have been to Ibrahimovic: a prognostic indication of how the two have successfully worked in sync.
Pogba has created numerous unconverted chances for Ibra so much that I would- without fear of stretching the truth- endeavor to suggest [that] the Swede would have 26 more goals than he already has had he been more clinical.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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