Monday, March 19, 2018

Is English football too much for Zlatan Ibrahimovic?

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 27 Oct 2016

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has struggled for top form of late at Manchester United

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has struggled for top form of late at Manchester United

Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic has won trophies and medals at every club he has represented. His move to Manchester United this summer in the twilight of his career was a gamble for the veteran star.

Many had questioned whether he could handle the Premier League in the past. In typical Ibrahimovic style, he ignored the haters and moved to Manchester anyway.

Ibrahimovic may not have felt he has a point to prove in England, but others certainly did.

Enjoyed a mixed time so far

Ibrahimovic was poor in the first half of United’s 1-0 EFL Cup win over arch-rivals Manchester City on Wednesday night. Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher had this to say about the striker: ‘I don’t think Zlatan Ibrahimovic has probably had a worse 45 minutes than that in his career’.

He did create the only goal of the game for Juan Mata in the second half and produced a far better performance in the second period, though.

The veteran star started the campaign in very promising fashion, firing home four goals in his first three competitive appearances for the Red Devils. However, his United displays have gone downhill of late.

Ibrahimovic’s career has been built on being prolific. Last season he scored 52 goals in all competitions for PSG at the age of 34. The Swede has scored just once in his last ten United appearances and that came against the hardly tough opposition of Zorya in the Europa League.

His frustrations seem to be boiling over. He has now been booked three times in his last five outings. Maybe the English game is already having an effect on his body.

Helping revive United a major challenge

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a winner, proven by his medal collection. He is supremely confident and probably believed he could single-handedly revive the fortunes of United. Boss Jose Mourinho and Ibrahimovic were both brought in as an attempt to bring the character back to the Red Devils.

They both have the edge of winners. Both are prickly characters, who do not like to lose and who rate themselves higher than anybody else rates them. However, Manchester United have been in bad shape for years.

It was never going to be easy to revive their fortunes this season. Ibrahimovic only signed a one-year deal with the Red Devils. Maybe the Swede believed it would be easy to help recapture the glory days or maybe he had a misplaced belief in his fitness and body.

The Premier League is definitely not Ligue One, where Ibrahimovic helped PSG saunter to four consecutive domestic titles. The Premier League is highly competitive and there are hardly any easy games in the English top-flight.

Still time to be a success in England

Ibrahimovic will be determined to be successful in England. His goalscoring record of six goals in 14 appearances in all competitions is not dreadful. The veteran Swede still has time to be a success in the Premier League.

Ibrahimovic started the campaign off as one of the favourites to win the Premier League Golden Boot this season. However, the Swede is now odds of 10/1 to top the scoring charts in England’s top-flight. The likes of Sergio Aguero, Diego Costa and Romelu Lukaku are ahead of him in the betting to secure the Golden Boot.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a divisive character. Some love to hate the striker because he comes across as arrogant. It is difficult to argue with his goalscoring record in the past, though. Ibrahimovic has been prolific in front of goal for over a decade in a number of countries.

He has been written-off and criticised a number of occasions in the past. However, the Swede always seems to bounce back with more belief and a bigger swagger in his step. Perhaps he may need to accept that he is not a youngster anymore.

No matter what anybody says playing in the Premier League at 35 must be gruelling on a player’s body. Maybe a rest is in order for the former-PSG star, as he looks exhausted. A rest could be the key to him regaining his form for United.

For Ibrahimovic to be a success at United something has to change. If it does not then he may well be labelled a flop by those claiming he is too old to play in the English top-flight.

Is English football too much for Zlatan Ibrahimovic?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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