This is actually why teams buy expensive players irrespective of the cost. Following the impressive win over West Ham on the opening day of the season, Manchester United looked like they were going to struggle to repeat the same result against Swansea for much of Saturday afternoon. However, another 4-0 win sees United top of the Premier League for another weekend.
They took the lead just before half time through Eric Bailly, scoring the first league goal of his career, and once the second went in courtesy of Romelu Lukaku, the floodgates opened. Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial netted to make it 4-0 — a scoreline that reflected United’s dominance, even if not the performance.
To be so clinical with their chances, something they failed miserably at so often last season, was brilliant to see.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has registered four assists in the opening two games. He was largely anonymous but when Juan Mata was substituted, the space opened up for him and he came alive. It would be great to see him switch it on like that earlier in the game but still, it’s a very impressive start to the season for him.
Lukaku cost an awful lot of money, £75 million, and many critics claimed he wasn’t worth it. It’s a long season, obviously, but to score in every competitive game he’s played in for United so far is a brilliant way to show his value.
Marcus Rashford really never got to grips with the game. He seemed fazed by the jeers from the crowd and a lack of protection from the referee. Mourinho doesn’t believe he is a No.10 and a glaring miss when one-on-one with Lukasz Fabianski won’t do anything to convince the manager otherwise.
Manager rating out of 10
9 — Mourinho started the same lineup in the Premier League for the first time since December 2016. He showed patience with Pogba, who looked like he was a walking red card after a first half yellow, to the benefit of the team.
He made his substitutions at the right time with the extra protection afforded by Marouane Fellaini allowing Martial to take advantage of a tiring defence. Moving Mkhitaryan to the right also worked wonders and killed the game off.
Here is the Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK David De Gea, 6 — A quiet afternoon but coped well with everything that came his way.
DF Antonio Valencia, 6 — Got up the right flank well to support the attacking players ahead of him. Saw plenty of the ball but didn’t get in many decent crosses.
DF Eric Bailly, 7 — A failed clearance set up an early opportunity for Swansea but he also made a vital interception to deny Tammy Abraham a tap in. Solid throughout the game.
DF Phil Jones, 8 — Should have put United ahead with a free header but his effort came back off the woodwork. Coped very well with Abraha, who certainly had a height advantage, but Jones, with the exception of allowing one free header, was always in the right place at the right time.
DF Daley Blind, 6 — Delivered the corner that lead to the first goal. Another solid performance at left-back, despite not being first choice.
MF Nemanja Matic, 7 — Quietly got about his job. He made crucial interceptions and tackles throughout, as well as releasing the ball quickly to the danger men ahead of him. Saw more of the ball than anyone else on the pitch.
MF Paul Pogba, 8 — Booked for a bad challenge and minutes later was guilty of another pointless foul, putting pressure on himself for the next hour. Cut a frustrated figure for the first half before his header set up Bailly’s tap in. In the second half, he looked much more composed. He grabbed a goal for himself after making the interception that led to the move, and then laid on an assist for Martial’s finish.
FW Juan Mata, 6 — Delivered a perfect free kick which Jones should have scored from. Too many of his crosses went to the first man but he was involved in a lot of United’s better attacking moves. Replaced for the final 15 minutes.
FW Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 7 — The Armenian didn’t do much of anything for essentially the first 80 minutes and was fortunate to avoid being substituted. Then in the final 10 minutes he played through a perfect ball to Lukaku to put United 2-0 up. Minutes later, he went on a great run to set up Pogba. He is capable of moments of magic and he showed that in the closing stages of the game.
FW Marcus Rashford, 6 — Pulled an early shot wide before having the perfect opportunity to give United the lead. A Swansea mistake left him one-on-one with the goalkeeper but he bizarrely opted to try and chip Fabianski instead of slotting it past him. Looked fed up by half time, feeling as though the referee had ignored too many fouls on him. Taken off with quarter of an hour to go after a quieter second half.
FW Romelu Lukaku, 7 — Quiet game for the Belgian but that was largely down to the impressive work of Swansea’s defence and United’s inability to get him involved. But when a good chance presented itself, Lukaku made sure he didn’t miss.
MF Marouane Fellaini, 6 — Did everything that Mourinho asked of him. Protected the defence and closed down opponents well.
FW Anthony Martial, 7 — Another brilliant cameo from the Frenchman, coming on to claim a goal. His run also presented Lukaku with his chance that made it 2-0.
MF Ander Herrera, N/R — Came on for Mkhitaryan for the final few minutes.