EPL 2016-17: Rating Manchester United and Arsenal transfers
One of the fiercest rivalry in English football resumes this Saturday when Manchester United host Arsenal in their next Premier League game. While the Red Devils have slipped down the League table after making a good start to the season, Arsenal has put their opening day defeat at the hands of Liverpool and currently sit in the 4th spot only 2 points behind the League leaders Liverpool.
However, all that will be forgotten when the two sides take to the field for the game. The fixture has proved to be an exciting affair in recent times, and we expect the trend on Saturday.
With millions spent in the summer transfer window by both the clubs, it is only evident that a lot of the spotlight has been on their new recruits and in this segment, we rate the players who arrived at the mentioned clubs at the start of the current season.
Eric Bailly - 7/10
There were a lot of eyebrows raised when Manchester United announced the arrival of Bailly from Villarreal and several media outlets reported that the fee being paid for the player was around a whopping £30 million. However, the player has let his game do the talking during his time at the Old Trafford and has put to rest the claims that Manchester United could have overpaid for his services by a notable margin.
The Ivorian has showcased an ability to be tidy with the ball at his feet, can disrupt the opposition’s rhythm with interceptions and tackles and is a tough man to get past for most oppositions as he complements his physical brute with a sound understanding of the game to frustrate them.
While he can be equally effective in tackles (having won 55% of the ones he has entered into the League so far), it is the player’s understanding of the game that has impressed us the most. He averages an interception every 25 minutes and uses his pace to great effect to thwart the opposition’s attempts.
The Ivory Coast was arguably Manchester United’s best player while he was fit. He brought the much-needed athleticism and solidarity to the United defence, although temporarily, as his stint at the club was plagued by a long-term injury that will see him miss the action until January.
With him expected to travel to the African Cup of Nations in January, just weeks after his expected return from injury, Jose Mourinho has a task at his hand to find his replacement, at least for the short run. If his performances are anything to go by, Bailly is here to leave his stamp on the Premier League and could be one of the better buys of the club in recent times.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 6/10
Despite blowing hot and cold over the course of the last few weeks, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the reason Manchester United currently sit in the 8th spot in the Premier League as the Swede was crucial to the side eking consecutive wins in their opening three League fixtures against Bournemouth, Southampton, and Hull City.
The player went six games without scoring, as Manchester United lost their grip amongst the top 4 in the League and had been singled out for a lot of criticism owing to his lacklustre performances. Not only was the former PSG man not finding the back of the net, but he was also not able to trouble defences and was accused of missing glorious opportunities that could have put several games to rest and deservedly so.
However, the inevitable happened and Zlatan was on the scoresheet in his side’s latest fixture against Swansea and Jose Mourinho as well as millions of Manchester United fans will be hoping that the player can continue to find the back of the net at a regular frequency to help his side improve on their current league standing.
The 35-year-old’s transfer was expected to be a stop-gap solution for Jose Mourinho while he looks for a long-term solution to the striking troubles of his side and the Portuguese will be aware that time is running out for him. In the meanwhile, the world waits with abated breaths to witness Zlatan specials, masking the struggle at hand for the Portuguese.