Zlatan Ibrahimovic struggled once again as Manchester United scraped past Manchester City in the EFL Cup.
The Swede has found the back of the net five times in all competitions for the Red Devils so far this season, but it’s fair to say his goals have dried up in recent weeks.
Even more concerningly, he has no assists – stats thanks to WhoScored.com – and that was a key part of his game at Paris Saint-Germain.
It used to be that he offered so much more than goals, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. In fact, his biggest sin at United is quite arguably occupying the striking position at the expense of Marcus Rashford, who has been confined either to the bench or to the wing.
In the 4-0 defeat against Chelsea, Rashford playing in midfield saw him dragged back time and time again to defend, until the point where he was almost playing at left-back.
Against City last night, Ibra once again left it to Juan Mata to save the day, a player paradoxically out of favour with Jose Mourinho.
Now, Mourinho has warned that he isn’t afraid to drop United’s biggest stars, as Wayne Rooney will testify. It doesn’t seem to apply to Ibra, though, even as he fails to make an impact.
For Zlatan, this is now the longest goal drought of his career – by his admittedly high standards. He’s only been given a one-year deal at Old Trafford, and while it all started so promisingly, it’s hard to imagine that contract being renewed unless he starts banging the goals in again soon.