Stepping unto in the pitch for the mid-day kick off against relegation battling Bournemouth, fresh off a League Cup title winning performance, Ibrahimovic must have expected to grace the front pages of sports magazines across Europe.
He did. But for completely different reasons, summarized in his post admittance that he was to blame for United’s 7th home draw of the campaign and the missed chance to climb back into the top four for the first time since December.
His poor frustrating afternoon was capped when he missed a glorious opportunity from the penalty spot. Before then, the big Swede had had several ultercations with members of the opposing teams, including elbowing Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings. Mings had earlier stamped Ibra on the head while he was lying on the ground after being fouled.
The former Barcelona, Milan, Inter and PSG striker is now facing the prospects of facing a three match ban after the FA charged him with, along with with Bournemouth’s Mings, with violent conduct following Saturday’s incidents.
With United languishing in sixth position, with a significant chance to move ahead of Liverpool and Arsenal, losing their talisman for the next couple of games doesn’t bode well for their top four aspirations.
Should he be found guilty and slapped with the stipulated match ban, he would miss the crucial FA Cup tie with Mourinho’s former club, Chelsea, as well as games against Middlesbrough and West Brom.
United however have a young star in Marcus Rashford, who is rated highly by Mourinho and the many in Manchester, given his meteoric rise since he was given his debut by Louis Van Gaal last season. United also have Anthony Martial in their arsenal and could be deployed to fill in should their starman be frozen out for a fortnight.