After a blockbuster start, things have swiftly unraveled for Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Manchester United.
The Swede has failed to live up to expectations and has been one of the biggest victims of United’s stale recent form. Despite Jose Mourinho showing great faith in the striker, the goals have simply dried up.
However, it’s not just in the goalscoring department that things have taken a turn for the worst for Ibrahimovic. In fact, the 35-year-old now leads the Premier League for a rather unfavourable statistic.
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The reunion of Mourinho and Ibrahimovic at Old Trafford looked like a match made in heaven.
Early games suggested this was exactly right as the Swede flew out of the blocks in a United jersey. His competitive debut saw Leicester City defeated 2-1 in the Community Shield with his own towering header proving the winner.
In addition, Ibrahimovic scored three goals in his first two games in the Premier League before finding the net against Pep Guardiola’s then unbeaten Manchester City.
However, since that Manchester derby strike, the ex-Barcelona man has only found the net once and it came against Ukrainian minnows Zorya Luhansk.
The 35-year-old has, consequently, gone six league games without a goal – his worst run since 2007 when he was plying his trade at Inter Milan. This is despite the fact Mourinho has kept him in the first team and his teammates have created numerous chances for him.
His struggles were no more apparent than in the bitterly disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Burnley. Ibrahimovic had more shots than anyother individual in any one game in the Premier League since 2011, yet still couldn’t break his duck.
However, Ibrahimovic’s troubles don’t solely lie with his ever-increasing goal drought. In fact, the statistics don’t read too kindly when it comes to the striker’s disciplinary record.
As per Goal.com, the Swede has conceded more fouls than any other Premier League player after 10 games this season. The top six offenders can be seen below:
1. Zlatan Ibrahimovic - 24
=2. Troy Deeney - 21
=2. Callum Wilson - 21
3. Victor Wanyama - 20
=4. Vincent Janssen - 19
=4. Nordin Amrabat - 19
Somewhat surprisingly, the players relinquishing the most set pieces are used to playing in offensive areas. After all, the top three are all out-and-out strikers with Wilson not even proving a forward known for strength and tenacity.
Nevertheless, Ibrahimovic is the man who comes out on top. While the Swede is more than accustomed to emerging as number one in competitions, this won’t prove a victory that carries great pride.
After all, the 35-year-old amassing six times as many fouls as league goals is something he simply has to change.
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