STATS: Zlatan leading the way as United march on

A look at the key stats coming out of Manchester United's 3-0 win over Saint-Etienne on Thursday night.

Sport360 staff
by Sport360 staff
17th February 2017

article:17th February 2017

Super Swede: Zlatan.
Super Swede: Zlatan.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s remarkable debut season for Manchester United hit a new peak as he scored his first hat-trick for the team during Thursday’s 3-0 win over Saint-Etienne.

The hat-trick showcased Ibrahimovic’s all-around ability, as he scored a free-kick, a classic poacher’s goal, and a penalty, and it also marked just one more occasion when Ibrahimovic tormented Saint-Etienne. The Swedish striker has now scored 17 goals in 13 appearances against the southern French side.

Ibrahimovic is now up to 23 goals for the season, which is the most anyone has scored for Manchester United since Robin van Persie’s 30-goal season in 2012/13. His three goals also took his tally in Europe this season to five, making him the first United player to hit that mark in a European campaign in five years.

Fellow striker Anthony Martial has been under the spotlight this season, with Jose Mourinho having dropped the Frenchman from his starting XI before challenging the young star to win his spot back. The 21-year-old has seemingly finally received the message, following up an excellent display on Saturday in the Premier League with another good outing in which he terrorized the Saint-Etienne defence.

Thursday night’s game was a memorable occasion for Paul Pogba, who was facing his older brother Florentin for the first time in professional football. Both Pogba brothers could have gotten on the scoresheet, and the Manchester United man came closest, sending a header crashing against the bar and thus continuing his love affair with the woodwork this season.

Jose Mourinho will be especially pleased with his team’s newfound defensive solidity, although Manchester United rode their luck at times against Saint-Etienne. While Thursday’s performance saw some uncharacteristic sloppiness that could have resulted in a goal, United came away with yet another clean sheet, their fifth in a row. It was their third straight in Europe, and, intriguingly, the sixth consecutive clean sheet for backup goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who got the nod on Thursday as David De Gea was rested.