Former Arsenal winger Charlie Nicholas believes that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has a point to prove against Anderlecht on Thursday night following Marcus Rashford‘s superb display against Chelsea.
The 19-year-old was handed a chance to feature at No.9 against the league leaders after it was revealed that Zlatan was tired following recent exertions and duly delighted supporters with a sensational performance, scoring the opening goal as Manchester United claimed a convincing 2-0 win.
Jose Mourinho, when asked whether Rashford would keep his place up front for the Anderlecht clash, hinted towards Zlatan returning to occupy the No.9 role instead.
And Nicholas has emphasised the importance of vindicating Mourinho’s decision to use him over Rashford against Rene Weiler’s side.
“They’ve got a big group and they’re obviously not all players Jose likes, but he got it bang on with his changes on Sunday,” he said.
“And he’ll be able to bring a fresh Zlatan Ibrahimovic back in.
“Anderlecht will have to come out and play and I just think that man Zlatan will step up for them and prove he is the main man after watching Marcus Rashford take the plaudits at the weekend.”
One can’t help but feel as if Rashford deserves more time to feature at No.9. Not necessarily due to any fault on Zlatan’s part – he has two goals in his last two games, with 28 overall so far this season – but mainly because of the sheer brilliance of the teenager.
The idea of removing that raw pace, energy and unpredictability ahead of a game that, with last Thursday’s draw in Belgium in mind, will require some extra zip is just nonsensical. Mourinho will need to find a way of somehow accommodating both styles into an effective combination as Man United embark on their pursuit of a semi-final place.