Manchester United meant business as they kicked off their 2017-18 Premier League campaign on a terrific note, beating West Ham United 4-0 at Old Trafford.
Here, we take a look at five things their rampant performance taught us.
MARTIAL THE SUPER SUB OR SUPER STAR?
In 10 minutes after coming on, Anthony Martial showed just why it would be a massive gamble to let him leave and somehow a starting place has to be found for him. A goal and assist for Pogba, sorry, but you just cannot keep, or waste, such talent on the bench.
While Mourinho has found room for Rashford, albeit on the left wing, it is where Martial should be. With Mkhitaryan in the middle and Rashford on the right, that is a frontline to fear with their pace.
Martial may frustrate Mourinho, but he has the potential to be world class. Give him trust, not a transfer.
FLASHBACK TO THE BRILLIANT BLUES
Having taken a season to mould his side, there is a distinct look of Mourinho’s old Chelsea champions in this United outfit.
In 2005-06 the Blues finished a commanding eight points clear with a positive goal difference of plus 50 as they retained the title. It was through a solid defensive spine, a midfield full of drive and ingenuity, wing wonders in Arjen Robben and Damien Duff and the big man Didier Drogba up front.
United mirrored that yesterday with their strengths in similar key areas. Passionate in keeping a clean sheet, they were full of poise and penetration at the other end.
POGBA APPRECIATION SOCIETY
Now that he is no longer the world’s most expensive player, there is no burden on his back and he can play with freedom and flair. He was quiet in the opening part of the game, but when given the ball, he makes things happen or at least tries.
They don’t always come off, but such skills are special and the fans did not get on his back but appreciate just what he can offer.
With a late goal, he provided a polished all-round performance that will be the platform for a campaign in which he can thrive.
BARGAIN BUY MATIC
There was much bafflement, even consternation, when he was allowed to leave Chelsea for United and here was the reason why.
Composed, classy and cultured, it was like he had been playing for United for years rather than making his league debut for them.
From spraying crossfield passes to driving runs, Matic was the fulcrum for United. Provided a perfect screen for the defence, but able to support the attack too. At £40 million, in an inflated market, he looks an absolute bargain on the evidence of this.
This was United’s best opening-day win since they beat Fulham 5-1 in 2006. They went on to win the title that season.
Of course they also won 4-1 at Swansea in the first game of David Moyes’s ill-fated reign. This win has to be a marker, a sign of their intent not to finish the season with failure.
A strong start is important, not only for accumulating points, but for confidence. When United have, and play with, such swagger, they can be unstoppable.
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