Manchester United are the champions of the League Cup after squeezing by Southampton this past Sunday. The Red Devils have now won two trophies this year under Jose Mourinho and they hope it’s the beginning of a fresh start. The team has statistically improved in recent matches having lost just one match in the new year. That however does not hide the fact that Manchester United’s Zlatan-dependency has gotten worse and worse over time.
The 35-year-old continues to dominate Europe despite his advancing age and shows no sign of declining soon. Ibrahimovic has scored a total of 15 goals in a total of 24 appearances for United this season. He has also proven his playmaking abilities are still very much intact. His four assists this season are tied for second most in the team. So, a team desperately needing a revival in both the local and international stage, is depending on a 35-year-old to get them there.
Ibrahimovic himself has more goals than the rest of the first team forwards put together. Martial and Rashford both have scored three goals each plus another two goals by the forgotten Wayne Rooney. I’ve said it in the past, Manchester United’s Zlatan-dependency when it comes to scoring goals has them playing with fire. The Sweden striker has no problem with carrying the team to a title almost singlehandedly. He lives for the goals and the limelight. He’s never been one to shy away from a challenge like the one he’s been presented with.
As much as he hates to admit it, he is human after all (I think?). Like any other player in the World, he cannot do it himself. The most successful teams in the World depend on multiple players to get the job done. Real Madrid have BBC and Modric, Barcelona have MSN and even Chelsea has Hazard, Costa and Pedro. If the United board is content with winning a League Cup and Community Shield then they’re right on track. However, if they want to go back to competing amongst Europe’s elites, they need to get Zlatan some help.
Imagine this. What if Ibra gets injured in the upcoming weeks with the FA Cup, Europa League and european positions left to play for? Who would carry the load? A rusty Rooney? Inexperienced Martial and Rashford? The only other player for United that has scored more than five goals has been Juan Mata..a midfielder. At 35, Zlatan should be getting more rest than the rest of his teammates to make sure he is in good shape and healthy for the end of the season. Adding even more miles to his legs could potentially lead to injuries or flat out exhaustion.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is without a doubt one of the best strikers in the World and he’s proved it once more. Literally carrying United this season and keeping their title dreams alive. Alas, Manchester United’s Zlatan-dependency cannot be a good thing going into the future. Depending on one superstar will win you small titles but if you want to truly compete, get him some help. If not, you’ll be competing in Europa League for years to come. Or worse, your superstar will leave prematurely.