In another of our occasional series ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey José’, let’s take a peek at substitution fetishisation. (Oo-er.) Now there’s a phrase you won’t be used to seeing, not least because I just invented it.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic could face a considerable battle for a starting spot when fit again but Jose Mourinho has stressed how important it will be for Manchester United to have the option of a striker he still regards as one of the world’s finest.
With Paul Pogba added to Manchester United’s lengthening injury list for tonight’s derby at the Etihad Stadium, the continued unavailability of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones is a source of great frustration to manager Jose Mourinho.
Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney, strikers at contrasting stages of their Manchester United careers, emerged from the shadow cast by the injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and invigorated their team’s hopes of an unlikely top-four Premier League finish.
Last week, we presciently noted here that “post-cup final matches are notorious for slumbering drop-offs in performance”, although one might at least argue that Saturday’s overall entertainment value was almost up to Wembley’s standards.
So much for ‘Alan Hardaker’s ginger stepson’, as I used to dub the unloved League Cup. Unloved by United, anyway. After yesterday’s gripping final, could we finally be said to be warming to this weird tri-handled pot?
Usually during these cup breaks, the emotional state of your average Fantasy Premier League manager lies somewhere between quiet reflection to outright boredom. Not this time...
Manchester United’s claim to be the only English team still in with a chance of winning four trophies this season — a bit of a stretch when it comes to the Premier League of course — is still technically intact after Zlatan Ibrahimovic underlined their hunger for silverware with a first-leg Europa League hat-trick against St Etienne.