Zlatan Ibrahimiovic once again dazzled the watching world with a scintillating display during Manchester United’s 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League.
The 35-year-old rounded off a rampant display at No.9 with two superb goals to hand Jose Mourinho’s men their fourth successive win.
A glance at Zlatan’s stats shed light on what was a truly bombastic display from the Swede.
Ibrahimovic's game by numbers vs WBA:
2 key passes
100% chance conversion
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 17, 2016
That’s now 16 goals and counting for Ibrahimovic. The last player to match that total at this stage of the season was Ruud van Nistelrooy (yes, that’s right, even better than Robin van Persie). His influence under Mourinho has been simply explosive, and those that wrote him off back in July – questioning his ability to match English football’s physical power at the age of 35 – have gone strangely quiet.
He was – not for the first time this season – the difference for Man United in a potentially tricky encounter against one of the league’s form sides. The Swede announced himself to the Hawthorns in characteristically noisy fashion, latching onto an inch-perfect Jesse Lingard cross to head home after just four minutes.
He wasn’t done there, though. With 56 minutes on the clock, the Swede effortlessly lifted the ball past two West Brom defenders before rifling home. Off he went again, that huge figure wheeling off to celebrate as the Hawthorns watched on in quiet awe.
His second reminded me of when you were playing football with your friends, and you’re all, say, 13-years-old. And then a group of boys from two years above join in. You don’t want them to join, but there’s not much you can do. Zlatan is like that group’s ring-leader (he’s usually called Shane or something like that), mockingly lifting the ball over skinny, terrified legs before launching home yet another goal. You end up just leaving, because football is no longer enjoyable to you. That is Craig Dawson right now.