Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice on his home debut as Manchester United claimed a comfortable Premier League win over Southampton at Old Trafford.

The Swedish striker headed home Wayne Rooney’s cross from the right.

He scored from the penalty spot after Jordy Clasie tripped Luke Shaw, his third goal in two league games since joining on a free transfer this summer.

Paul Pogba, United’s £89m world-record signing from Juventus, made an energetic full league debut.

Victory gave early leaders United a three-point lead at the top of the table after two matches.

Zlatan makes his presence felt

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Ibrahimovic’s force of personality could be every bit as much of an asset as his ability to United this season.

The 34-year-old, signed on a free transfer after leaving Paris St-Germain at the end of last season, marked his home debut with a confident display that brought warm appreciation from the home supporters.

Having scored in the Community Shield win over Leicester City and United’s Premier League weekend victory at Bournemouth, Ibrahimovic went into the match in fine form.

The Swede’s movement was significant in a United attack that looks far livelier than it did under the management of Louis van Gaal last season.

Intriguingly, Ibrahimovic appears to have bumped captain Wayne Rooney from penalty duties. He was quick to take on the responsibility when United were awarded a spot-kick; his finish was his 25th successful conversion from his last 28 attempts.

Pogba eases his way in

Paul Pogba heatmap

Pogba’s return to Old Trafford, four years after he left for Juventus without having made a Premier League start, has been eagerly awaited by United fans this summer.

His second debut for the club was delayed because of a suspension held over from his time in Italy but, with that served, manager Jose Mourinho tried to warn supporters against expecting too much too soon.

The midfielder is still getting back to full speed, having been given a break after helping France reach the Euro 2016 final – and that showed in his performance.

Paul Pogba

However, there was plenty of evidence to suggest that Mourinho was right to spend so much money to bring Pogba back to Old Trafford. His display was a positive one, with more touches and more passes in the opposing half than any team-mate.

One surging run towards the end of the first half left four Southampton players in his wake, and demonstrated his power, while a second-half header from a Juan Mata corner flew just over the bar.

He did fade as the match reached its later stages – undoubtedly a result of the fact that he has not had a proper pre-season – but the Frenchman summoned up enough energy to blast a shot wide at the end of a late counter-attack.

A goal would have rounded off Pogba’s night perfectly, but he was happy enough. For him, victory was the perfect way to celebrate the 26th birthday of his brother, Partick Thistle striker Mathias Pogba.

Mathias Pogba

Southampton’s Old Trafford run ends

Another summer has brought yet another squad overhaul at Southampton, with Sadio Mane, Graziano Pelle and Victor Wanyama all leaving the club, along with manager Ronald Koeman.

Claude Puel, Koeman’s replacement, is still finding his feet in the Premier League, and the same could be said of the reshaped squad he leads.

The visitors had their moments at Old Trafford, with Shane Long going close and Dusan Tadic seeing a goal ruled out for a push moments before Ibrahimovic’s decisive second.

Losing midfielder Oriol Romeu to an early injury did not help them, but having won 1-0 on each of their last two visits to Old Trafford, they rarely looked likely to extend that run.

Man of the match – Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Man Utd)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Ibrahimovic was the star of Ligue 1 last season, scoring 50 goals in all competitions last season as Paris St-Germain completed a domestic clean sweep.

His self-confidence has never been in question, but there were doubts as to whether he could be prolific in the Premier League at the age of 34.

However, his fine start at Old Trafford has given United fans plenty of reason for cheer.

Reaction

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, speaking to BBC Sport: “It’s a great feeling. I’m very happy. It’s my brother’s birthday so I am happier.

“I was relaxed, no nerves, I played my game. The first ball of the match, I lost it, but got used to it. After that, I felt better.

“I came here to win, that is what I always wanted. It’s a top club. We need to get used to winning and carry on like this. We dream big. United are a big club, I know we will do big things this season.”

Southampton striker Shane Long: “They are a good side, but I thought we played well. We passed the ball around well, but it took us a bit of time to get going again.

“We need to change that. We need to be right at teams from the start. We’ll learn from this. We caused them some problems and we can look at some positives.”

The stats you need to know

  • Zlatan Ibrahimovic has struck 13 goals in his last eight league games against teams managed by Claude Puel – having been prolific for previous club Paris St-Germain against Puel’s Nice.
  • Three of Ibrahimovic’s last six league goals have been with his head – this after none of his previous 19 had come through headers.
  • Manchester United have not lost a league home game after leading at half-time since May 1984 (1-2 vs Ipswich).
  • Paul Pogba made his first Premier League appearance for Manchester United since 18 March 2012, 1,616 days ago.
  • Wayne Rooney made his 600th club appearance in this match (523 for Man Utd, 77 for Everton).
  • Manchester United have not lost a home league game on a Friday since April 1950, when they lost 2-0 to Birmingham, winning 14 and drawing six games since.

What’s next?

Manchester United have a Saturday trip to Hull City on 27 August, with Southampton at home to Sunderland on the same day.

Line-ups

Man Utd

  • 1de Gea
  • 25A Valencia
  • 3Bailly
  • 17Blind
  • 23Shaw
  • 27Fellaini
  • 6Pogba
  • 8Mata