Dean Court will look to greet Mourinho and Ibrahimovic in the opening weekend, hoping that their presence won’t make it a difficult Sunday afternoon. A quick look at some of the probable things to watch out for :-
1. Mourinho and Zlatan will look to establish their presence
Mourinho finally is where he wants to be whereas for Zlatan, his introduction to the Premier League has finally come. The swagger is definitely back at Manchester, whether they are able to use that effectively to churn out a result will be worth noting. Mourinho for all his Premier League knowhow knows the effectiveness of a quick start. If the Community Shield was anything to go by, then we can expect pace down the wings with Ibrahimovic playing effectively as an target man. The byzzing pace of Martial and Lingard are sure to stretch the Bournemouth defense.
2. Eddie Howe’s enhanced reputation deserves all the plaudits
One of the favourites to go down last season, Eddie Howe inspite of missing key players still ensured that his Bournemouth side stuck to the playing style that suited most. Pragmatic changes over the season helped his team make the best of the resources available. After being linked with the England job in the summer, the Bournemouth coach will hope to enhance his reputation further as he sets out to consolidate in the Premier League.
His work with Bournemouth has not gone unnoticed and at the age of 38 will surely get a second bite at managing the England National team. After winning the corresponding fixture last season, Howe will hope for a repeat of the result. Having gone through the grind, and making the journey from League Two to Premier League, Howe has adapted to be able to deliver a team which has a solid shape.
3. The Rooney conundrum
Jose Mourinho declared that Wayne Rooney would play in his role of a striker. By stating it publicly, Mourinho now knows that it is up to Mourinho to start scoring the necessary goals to establish himself as a first choice. The arrival of Pogba will ensure that Rooney won’t have to drop back to midfield to provide the creative spark anymore. Instead he will be expected to latch on to the second balls and establish a rapport with Zlatan.
With Marcus Rashford in the wings, Mourinho does have the option of pace upfront. The presence of Rooney will also ensure that Martial starts on the wings. For a change, Rooney’s versatility might actually be a headache for Mourinho.
4. A settled midfield for Bournemouth could turn the tie in their favour
Mourinho may have made the biggest signing this summer but he knows that the key to a Manchester victory lies in the cohesion that an established midfield presents. Bournemouth in comparison have a more settled midfield and Lewis Cook in central midfield is a rare midfielder who can combine smart positioning with an extreme ability to move with the ball forward with pace as pointed out by Dave Hytner of the Guardian.
Mourinho will hope that his won midfield will be able to apply the brakes on this former Elland road product. Similarly, the injection of pace via Jordon Ibe, will keep the Manchester defence on its toes.
5. Will Mata have a role at Manchester United
Juan Mata, the wonderful creator has often been played accused of slowing down the play. Mourinho was the one who shunted him out of Chelsea. Mata, though has played in Manchester with varied levels of success, the highlight being the goal against Liverpool where he magically volleyed a winner.
Mata does have a role to play when it comes to unlocking tricky defences, Mourinho will do well to keep that in mind as he begins the Premier League aware that his midfield his short on creativity. While the question of drive and desire has been addressed in the form of Zlatan, Mkhitaryan and Pobga, the squad still lacks a schemer.