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Zlatan Ibrahimovic takes centre stage as Manchester United ease past Southampton

Published 19/08/2016

Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game from the penalty spot during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game from the penalty spot during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: Jose Mourinho, Manager of Manchester United looks on prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on August 19, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, centre, netted a brace as Manchester United remained on maximum points at the top of the Premier League
Manchester United's Paul Pogba (right) had a comfortable return to Old Trafford
Manchester United's Luke Shaw goes down during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: Jose Mourinho, Manager of Manchester United waves prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on August 19, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game from the penalty spot alongside teammate Paul Pogba during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game from the penalty spot during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game from the penalty spot during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic warms up ahead of the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on August 19, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores his side's second goal of the game from the penalty spot during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Pic: Nick Potts/PA Wire.
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: Paul Pogba of Manchester United warms up prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on August 19, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: Paul Pogba of Manchester United warms up prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on August 19, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic attempts a bicycle kick on goal during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic (centre) takes on Southampton's Virgil van Dijk (left) and Steven Davis during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney takes on Southampton's Jordy Clasie (right) and Jose Fonte (left) during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: Paul Pogba of Manchester United warms up prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on August 19, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic attempts a bicycle kick on goal during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: Paul Pogba of Manchester United warms up prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on August 19, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Southampton's Jose Fonte battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Pic: Nick Potts/PA Wire.
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic attempts a bicycle kick on goal during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Paul Pogba walks out before kick-off during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United fan wears the number 6 shirt to be worn by Paul Pogba prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on August 19, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: A Manchester United fan wears the number 6 shirt to be worn by Paul Pogba prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on August 19, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: Manchester United fans wear the number 9 shirt to be worn by Zlatan Ibrahimovic prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on August 19, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Manchester United fans welcome manager Jose Mourinho and player Paul Pogba before the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: Manchester United fans grab a bite to eat prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on August 19, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Manchester United scarves for sale before the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
A Manchester United fan celebrates Paul Pogba before the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: A Manchester United fan wears a Jose Mourinho face mask prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on August 19, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: A Manchester United fan wears the number 9 shirt to be worn by Zlatan Ibrahimovic prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on August 19, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Manchester United scarves for sale before the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United scarves for sale before the Premier League match at Old Trafford
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: Manchester United fans wear the number 9 shirt to be worn by Zlatan Ibrahimovic prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on August 19, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Jose Mourinho won the title in his first season at Chelsea
Manchester United's Paul Pogba warms-up before the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Paul Pogba warms up before the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Pic: Nick Potts/PA Wire.
Manchester United's Paul Pogba warms-up before the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: A view of empty seats prior to the Premier League match between Manchester United and Southampton at Old Trafford on August 19, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Manchester United's Zlatan Ibrahimovic warms-up before the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Paul Pogba warms-up before the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic warm-up before the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Paul Pogba warms-up before the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea warms-up before the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United coach Silvino Louro (centre) speaks with goalkeeper David De Gea before the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Paul Pogba warms-up alongside teammate Wayne Rooney before the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United fans read the matchday programme before the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (left) Chris Smalling (centre) and Daley Blind warm-up before the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 19, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic refused to share his Old Trafford spotlight with Paul Pogba, scoring in each half as Manchester United brushed aside Southampton 2-0 in the first of the Premier League's new Friday night attractions.

Pogba, the most expensive man in football with an £89million price tag around his neck, was handed his second United debut after missing the season opener through suspension but Ibrahimovic is not a man to be outdone easily.

Pogba is United's future, and he turned in a midfield performance brimming with athleticism, energy and skill, but Ibrahimovic is the man of the moment, taking his tally to four goals in his first three matches with a precision header and a neat penalty.

The return of the prodigal child certainly caused a pre-match stir, with Pogba's image glaring broodingly from the matchday programme and the home fans reserving their loudest roar for his name.

After such a build-up it was almost inevitable that his first touch would be a disappointment and he duly miscontrolled the ball off his instep before giving it away with a sloppy retrieval attempt.

But the fans were audibly energised, a stark contrast to the flatness of the Louis van Gaal era, and Ibrahimovic, Pogba and Juan Mata were soon probing away with a series of neat touches and flicks in the final third.

Ibrahimovic's cutback gave Pogba an early chance at goal in the 13th minute, but his curling effort was never likely to beat visiting goalkeeper Fraser Forster.

Southampton relied on counter-attacks and might have taken the lead when Nathan Redmond peeled away from Eric Bailly and into the box.

Dusan Tadic was lurking at the far post but Redmond put too much on his cross and the chance disappeared.

An opening goal never seemed far away, be it Shane Long missing by a yard after United failed to clear a free-kick or Wayne Rooney warming Forster's hands with a low drive.

Ibrahimovic also attempted a trademark bicycle kick after Pogba's cute chip and Mata's flick on, but he could not control the attempt.

United eventually broke the deadlock in the 36th minute when Rooney hunted down Antonio Valencia's pass at the corner flag. He took a moment to assess his options and hung a bending cross to the leaping Ibrahimovic.

He outjumped Jose Fonte, hung in the air and guided his header past the diving goalkeeper.

The game was effectively settled inside in the first seven minutes of the second half.

Southampton came tantalisingly close to parity when Tadic beat David de Gea with his head, only for the referee to chalk it off for a push.

Within seconds United were attacking at the other end, Luke Shaw had burrowed into the box and Jordy Clasie was penalised for felling him.

Ibrahimovic stepped up, buried the penalty and the points were all but safe.

United were eager to entertain though, and Pogba might have put the perfect end to matters when he rose to meet a 63rd-minute corner. He was not the only one to react with shock as his header landed in the crowd rather than the net.

Ibrahimovic was also hunting his hat-trick, but made a rare error in timing when Mata picked him out at the far post.

Pogba had one last late chance to pen his dream finale but after making great ground on the overlap he shot wide.

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