Manchester United extended their unbeaten Premier League run to 16 matches on Saturday courtesy of a comfortable 2-0 victory over Watford.
Goals from Juan Mata and Anthony Martial secured the three points for Jose Mourinho’s men, who remain two points off the top four after victories for both Arsenal and Manchester City.
Yet, Liverpool’s 2-0 success over Tottenham now means that there are just two points separating third and sixth, so the Red Devils are well-placed to clinch a top four berth, and indeed return to the Champions League after a one-year absence.
Mourinho’s men have won 13 of their 25 Premier League matches this term, with nine draws proving to be their undoing in the title race, given that they are 12 points behind leader Chelsea.
Nonetheless, United are in the League Cup final, have reached the fifth round of the FA Cup, and host Saint-Etienne in the last 32 of the Europa League this week, so there’s plenty of opportunities for silverware over the coming months, even if the league is out of reach.
The Red Devils have only managed 38 goals in the Premier League this season, the least of any side in the top seven, yet there have been some excellent performers for them this term – thus, who has been their most creative players after 25 league matches?
£89 million man Paul Pogba has completed the most dribbles per game (2.5) and is fouled the most on average (2.3), yet it is Zlatan Ibrahimovic who has been their go-to man this term.
The Swedish striker, who signed on a free last summer after leaving French champions Paris Saint-Germain, has scored 15 of their 38 league goals, and his tally of four assists is only beaten by England captain Wayne Rooney (5).
Ibrahimovic has averaged the same amount of key passes per game as Pogba, with 1.9, yet his goal or assist per minute ratio is significantly better than the Frenchman’s, with Ibrahimovic averaging 114 minutes per contribution in comparison to Pogba’s 309 minutes.
The 35-year-old also averages more shots on goal per game than anybody else (4.3), and it’s clear that United are reliant on him to get the goals, given that their next highest scorer is Spanish international Juan Mata, whose goal in the 2-0 win over Watford on Saturday was his sixth in the Premier League this term.
Clearly, the likes of Pogba and Mata have had good seasons at Old Trafford, but it is through Ibrahimovic where most of United goals come from, so keeping him fit and fresh over the coming months will be crucial if Mourinho’s men are to win silverware this season.