Bournemouth 1-3 Manchester United: Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores on league debut as Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney net for Jose Mourinho’s side.
Lead from the front, that is Jose Mourinho’s style, and his Manchester United team began by doing just that on Sunday.
They scored three goals in an away league win for the first time since October 17, 2015, sweeping aside dangerous opponents in the process. Bournemouth are no mugs, little but lively in Premier League terms, and for all Manchester United’s riches few regarded this game as a pushover.
Instead, United were comfortable by then, despite some late resistance from an Adam Smith goal. More to the point, some important individuals made their mark on the Premier League and Mourinho’s Manchester United.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic marked his Premier League debut with a goal as Manchester United won at Bournemouth
Ibrahimovic scored their third goal of Sunday afternoon with this long-range effort
United’s No 9 watches on as his strike arrows into the bottom corner to give them a 3-0 lead
The 34-year-old was mobbed by his team-mates as United boss Jose Mourinho barks out instructions
Juan Mata scored after his humbling experience at Wembley last week; so did Wayne Rooney, who Mourinho has charged with being a matchwinner again this season; and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has now found the net in his first game in Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1, the Champions League and the Premier League. He looked a Manchester United player from topknot to toe.
Mata, and a Bournemouth mistake, had United up by half-time and there was an element of good fortune in the build up to their second goal, too. Antonio Valencia crossed from the right and Anthony Martial mishit a volley which cannoned into the turf, bouncing up to Rooney. He reacted superbly, though, steering a header past Boruc with the assurance of a born goalscorer – which is exactly what he is.
Soon after, United won a free-kick outside the area, which Ibrahimovic took, forcing an outstanding save from Bournemouth goalkeeper Artur Boruc, but he was not to be denied on his Premier League debut and in the 64th minute turned a meandering attack outside the area into a deadly assault – killing any hope of a Bournemouth revival with a shot from 20 yards which flew low into the far corner. Smith pulled one back for Bournemouth, cutting in on the right after a pass by Lewis Grabban, but the game was lost by then. United went top. Just 90 minutes into the new season – but the last time it happened to a Mourinho team they did not relinquish the position until the title was won.
For those who thought United would only have to turn up with Mourinho and the majority his summer signings in tow to win, this was a rude awakening. It was not until the 24th minute that United had a shot of any significance, and not until the 27th that they got one on target. They weren’t bad, certainly not negative and they deserved the lead established before half-time, but the Premier League remains the toughest – if not the best – domestic competition in Europe, precisely because opponents such as Bournemouth are determinedly no pushovers.
Eddie Howe’s team did not make David De Gea work particularly hard, but they chase and harry and the pressure is on United this season. It showed after five minutes when an error by Luke Shaw after five minutes almost let in Callum Wilson, whose absence last season was such a huge blow for Bournemouth.
With Paul Pogba suspended, Mourinho also left new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the bench, preferring Mata, Rooney and Anthony Martial in support of Ibrahimovic. It is clear the forwards will have to grow into this season as a team. Rooney worked furiously as always, but the game slowed a little moving through him, while Ibrahimovic made his presence felt largely in deft flicks and link-up, always finding his man, and often on the volley.
Mourinho walks out before kick-off for the first time in the Premier League as a Manchester United manager
Summer signing Ibrahimovic controls the ball in one his first touches of the ball in the English top flight
Zlatan. Has. Arrived. https://t.co/nZwsb8y0yr
— El Gazzo (@_MidKnightGaz) August 14, 2016
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