Manchester United got off to a near-perfect start as they comfortably swept aside AFC Bournemouth in Jose Mourinho’s first competitive match for the club. Jose admitted to nerves before the whistle as his return to the Premier League also brought along the memories of the catastrophic campaign and subsequent sacking at Chelsea. Manchester United took the decision to appoint the Special One as the path United were treading the last few seasons gave the impression that the club was not in total control of its own destiny. So, before things went out of hands they decided to go for the instant success formula of the Special One.
Manchester United have recruited a host of big names over the summer which reinstated the lure of the club after a couple of lacklustre transfer windows. Mourinho handed debuts to two of his new signings in Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimović while Henrikh Mkhitaryan came off the bench with the match in the bag. Paul Pogba missed out due to a suspension.
Manchester United started in an apprehensive fashion with both the teams passing the ball around without too much invention or risk. But a mistake from Captain Simon Francis gifted United the first goal after some determined work by Mata. The Spaniard has been continually linked with a move away and all his appearances have a distinct impression that the player is under acute examination. His celebrations after the goal said it all and he is determined to prove his worth to the manager who has disposed of him once already at Chelsea. With United dominating after the break, Rooney kept his composure and placed a header out of Boruc’s reach after a mishit volley from Martial fell kindly to him.
It was party time for the travelling Man United fans as they took a stranglehold on the game and the moment they had come to see finally got materialised when Zlatan received a pass from Martial 30 yards from the goal and with the defence retreating, nonchalantly hit the ball along the ground through numerous legs and out of the keeper’s reach in the back of the net. A late goal from Bournemouth proved nothing more than a consolation as the match ended 3-1.
Cut to this week, United make their first appearance of this season at home against Southampton and Old Trafford will be ready to welcome the blockbuster signings along with their new manager. Mourinho is expected to keep faith in his 4-2-3-1 formation but though he might want to keep a winning team unchanged there are a couple of areas he might tweak as he continues his process of identifying his best team. The likes of Pogba and Smalling had a disrupted pre-season and might feature from the bench later on. But Old Trafford will be eager to see their returning golden boy in the first team.
Mourinho is expected to roll out a 4-2-3-1 formation and we are going with a couple of changes to last week’s team.