Zlatan’s suspension can be a blessing in disguise for United

Young Marcus Rashford can use this opportunity and carry on straight where he finished last season

Both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Tyrone Mings have received suspensions following their unsportsmanlike conduct in the last game between their respective teams.

This will definitely create a bigger problem for Mourinho than it will for Eddie Howe as Zlatan has been by far United’s best player and top scorer.

The absence of Mkhitaryan will damage United’s chances for positive results even further as the Armenian is still not ready to get back into the side.

One player who should look to take advantage of this situation is Marcus Rashford. The Manchester-born striker was United’s best player last season after he was introduced in February by his old manager Louis van Gaal. He debuted with a brace in the Europa League and didn’t stop scoring until the end of the season. The arrival of Ibrahimovic has perhaps not limited his playing time, but it has prevented him of playing in his more natural, central role and has limited him to only three league goals.

Zlatan has been ever-present for United this season. He was playing even in United’s away ties against Northampton, St. Etienne, Zorya as the Swedish striker was preferred by Mourinho even when there was no real need for him. Mourinho is aware that without Ibrahimovic, Manchester United is a different team. The veteran gives the team the needed stability in the final third and the needed goalscoring instinct in the opponent’s box.

Rashford is a completely different player. He doesn’t have the physical presence, he’s not as deadly inside the box and he’s definitely not a leader like Ibra, at least not for now, but what the young English forward can offer is pace and plenty of flair.

Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford formed an incredible partnership in their debut season for United. Sure, the Red Devils were under performing and failed to qualify for the Champions League, but nobody can deny that these players’ talents were on display.

While Ibra is suspended Manchester United will face the likes of Chelsea in the FA Cup, Middlesbrough and West Brom in the league.

The Manchester United Academy graduate has shown very few, if any signs of immaturity. He has surpassed captain Wayne Rooney in minutes played this season and has even played more than Martial, Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard.

How he performs as a striker for the following three matches in the FA Cup and Premier League can have major impact on United’s transfer plans for the summer. Mourinho’s side are reportedly keen on signing Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann and should Marcus prove he’s up for the challenge, United may switch their focus elsewhere in the transfer window.


About Filip Jakjimoski

Filip Jakjimoski is a soccer writer and an aspiring soccer coach from Skopje, Macedonia. As a lifelong Barclays Premier League fan he mostly covers the English top tier, giving news, match previews and tactical analysis. His pieces have been published in numerous local sport sites.