Zlatan Ibrahimovic delivered another powerful display during Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Sunderland in the Premier League.
The Swede set-up Man United’s opener with a neat lay-off to Daley Blind in the first half before putting the result beyond doubt with a goal of his own in the 82nd minute.
But he wasn’t done there. Minutes later Ibrahimovic delivered a pin-point cross to set-up a sumptuous Henrikh Mkhitaryan goal, rounding off another superb display.
A glance at the 35-year-old’s stats sheds light on the nature of his performance.
Ibrahimovic's game by numbers vs. Sunderland:
5 chances created
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 26, 2016
This was another textbook Ibrahimovic performance: largely peripheral all game, reduced to holding up the ball and winning fouls, and yet still somehow managing to deliver three crucial moments of brilliance to seal a fifth straight win for Jose Mourinho‘s men.
For a while it seemed that, following a sensational goal-scoring run, this wouldn’t be Zlatan’s day. His first half contributions, aside from his assist for Blind, were largely minimal, and as the game started to form an end-to-end dynamic, with Sunderland pushing for an equaliser and United looking to counter-attack, his usual ruthlessness in front of goal was nowhere to be seen.
Then again, as we all know, writing off the big Swede is a bad idea, and a late five minute spell that saw Zlatan grab and goal and an assist serves as a case in point.