Ibriana Jones: Red Devils of the Lost Ark!

By on February 17, 2017

Maybe Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be known as ‘Ibriana Jones’ (no relation to teammate defender Phil!), after the Swede bagged a hat-trick in Manchester United’s 3-0 home win over French side Saint-Etienne. After the last-32 first leg UEFA Europa League victory at Old Trafford, the 35-year-old compared himself to legendary film archaeologist-adventurer Indiana Jones (played by Harrison Ford), as both have had action-packed careers exploring different places. The ex-Juventus player has certainly whipped United’s attack into shape, having bagged 23 goals in all competitions so far. The first man in red to hit the 20+ goal mark since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

The Indiana Jones film franchise is set to expand with a fifth big screen installment in the pipeline, with five trophies also still available as the most for United to win this season (if you count the FA Community Shield, which Zlatan clearly does!). Ibrahimovic claims he has already claimed one piece of silverware this campaign back in August at Wembley and aims to earn at least one more before 2016/17 ends. As the Premier League trophy looks Lost to the Raiders of Stamford Bridge, the EFL Cup, FA Cup and Europa League are the best chances left for both manager Jose Mourinho and man-bun donning Ibrahimovic to win wherever they go. Overcome the boulder of Southampton a week on Sunday and the first piece of hidden treasure will have been uncovered by United this year. The Europa League is the only cup competition that could guarantee UEFA Champions League football next season for the Red Devils, if they finish outside of the top four in the Premier League, with six into four not possible.

Zlatan returning Stock-home?

If United are to reach the second-tier European cup competition final this season, Ibrahimovic will be going back Stock-home! The final takes place on Wednesday 24th May 2017 in Swedish capital city Stockholm. The Red Devils’ number nine forward is a Swedish legend, who would love to lift some silverware in his home country with his new English club, having retired from international duty last summer to extend his playing career in Manchester. He may have been born in Malmo, but he is up there alongside meatballs, ABBA and flat-pack furniture when it comes Swedish icons. United will now be favorites to reach the last-16 at least, as a 3-0 lead going into the second leg away encounter with Saint-Etienne next week (unusually played on Wednesday afternoon, not Thursday night) should be enough to see Ibrahimovic’s side through. The first strike came in the 15th minute, when a deflected free-kick dribbled over the line, which was added to in the 75th minute, as substitute Marcus Rashford set-up Ibrahimovic for an easy tap-in. The game was concluded when the former AC Milan, Inter Milan, Barcelona and Paris St-Germain striker buried a penalty on 88th minute to take home the match ball.

Pogba vs. Pogba!

The build up to the Man Utd/St-Etienne clash was all about Paul Pogba facing his older brother, but Zlatan stole the headlines, even with Mummy Pogba watching on from the Old Trafford stands to see her two sons in action in respective red and green. Mother Yeo and third brother Mathias watched siblings Florentin and Paul going head to haircut, as the elder defender had the numbers ’19’ and ‘6’ shaved into his barnet – something former Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan would not now get away with playing in United Arab Emirates football, where his style is seen as ‘unethical’. Paul Pogba clearly came out on top in this first leg encounter, with the 23-year-old costing £89million, compared to the 500,000 euros St-Etienne paid for Florentin in 2012.

Gent leave a Dent in Tottenham’s European Adventure!

United may have one foot in the next round, but Tottenham still have some work to do, having lost 1-0 to Belgian club KAA Gent. Spurs will have to win at their Temple of Doom – Wembley in Europe, if they want to remain with a shot at the Europa League, with sides like Italian outfit Roma showing their credentials as former Manchester City man Edin Dzeko bagged a hat-trick in a 4-0 away win over Spanish submarine Villarreal.

Homepage photo credit: Doha Stadium Plus Qatar [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

About Richard Lewis

Richard Lewis can relate almost anything to football and quite often does! You may have seen Richard's previous ideas and work in the BBC Match of the Day Magazine, from 2011 to present. He is a Manchester United and England fan, but has gone to see Leyton Orient play with his O's season ticket in the 2013/14 campaign. Aside from football, Richard has written articles on Doctor Who and studies English Language and Linguistics at the University of Westminster. Aspiring sports journalist.