Ibrahimovic v Lukaku
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the enigmatic Swede out since April with a knee ligament injury made a somewhat surprising return to action last Saturday in United’s win against Newcastle on Saturday. When asked if he ever doubted he would return he quipped “No, because Lions, they don’t recover like humans.”
Well Mourinho now has to decide who will get the lions share of playing time. Romelu Lukaku faces a new reality, In the absence of the injured Swede, Lukaku expected to stay on the pitch for 90 minutes whatever happens, but now he faces the prospect of being substituted with 20 minutes left if he is not delivering the goods.
It will certainly be interesting to see whether this will inspire him to lift his performance, or it could demoralise him. Lukaku has been known to go through dry spells if all is not well behind the scenes, most notably in 2016 when he had a 12 game goald drought in the midst of an unsettled period when there was talk of an imminent return to previous club Chelsea.
Alternatively, Mourinho could have both of his strikers on the pitch, as he did last night. Two big centre forwards can play effectively together however we all know that lions do not like to share.