Manchester United will meet struggling Sunderland in the Theater of Dreams on Dec 26, 2016 – Boxing Day! Yes! A Boxing Day matchup at Old Trafford.
On schedule, this Manchester United’s Boxing Day encounter is a traditional 15:00 GMT kick-off at Old Trafford with Sunderland. Guess who is coming to dinner? David Moyes. Yes! David Moyes, the former, eh, actually, the former Manchester United manager recommended by the iconic Sir Alex Ferguson to take over from him.
So, what did Moyes do when he took over from the king of late or extra time goal winners – while checking his watch on the touchlines to remind his players that time was running out. A goal or two or just a goal was usually scored at this late seconds remaining before the referee’s final whistle – and yes, Manchester United would have won the match – with Sir Alex.
Moyes was a disaster at Old Trafford in some of those miserable home and away football encounters of yore. David Moyes will come back to Old Trafford for the first time in the opposing dug-out after his spell in charge of Manchester United in the 2013/2014 football season in England. The Scot had a disastrous stint in Spain with Real Sociedad before agreeing to move to the Stadium of Light. He’ll become the fifth ex-United boss since the Second World War to manage against Manchester United.
According to Squawka, Zlatan Ibrahimović (photo: above) could have been plying his trade in English football a decade ago with Sunderland, according to Peter Reid.
The Swedish superstar is currently one of the in-form strikers in the Premier League having netted five goals in as many games. However, it could have been so different for the 35-year-old had the Black Cats succeeded with their plans to lure him from Ajax and pair him up front with club favourite Kevin Phillips in 2002.
Manager at the time Reid recalled the events which almost led to Ibrahimović making the move to the Stadium of Light.
“To be honest, Ajax was a bigger club back then. The Premier League was not as big as it is now, it was still growing at the time. I always liked big centre forwards, but in his case he is technically gifted as well.”
Thank God that the Swedish striker did not go to the Stadium of Light. Whew! I’m thrilled that Zlatan came to Old Trafford when he did – thanks to Jose Mourinho. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (in a verbal, not facial staccato with United icon and ex-striker who was a God of football during his years at Old Trafford, the mercurial Frenchman, Eric Cantona) declared that he was greater than Cantona. The swaggering Frenchman (Cantona’s) arrival from Leeds United triggered the start of a sustained era of Manchester United’s Premier League domination under Sir Alex Ferguson and I am not ruling out a repeat performance following this summer’s United’s capture of the Swedish countryman Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Cantona told Ibrahimovic he could be the “prince” of the City of Manchester following his switch to Old Trafford, but he (Cantona) will always be the king.
It was also reported that Ibrahimovic had previously remarked after his departure from Paris Saint-Germain (PSG): “I came like a king, I left like a legend.”
Photos: Frenchman Cantona & Swedish countryman Ibrahimovic
Not done, Cantona told Ibrahimovic that joining Manchester United is the best choice he ever made following his move to Old Trafford. The notoriously eccentric Swede, Zlatan, delivered the perfect one-liner back to the mercurial Frenchman as follows:
“I admire Cantona. And I heard what he said, but I won’t be King of Manchester. I will be God of Manchester”
Do I agree with that boast? Maybe! It is not in doubt that United’s latest marvelous frontman is in top form and scoring goals for Jose Mourinho and yours truly. But will Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the frontman, and Manchester United, be strong enough to battle struggling Sunderland at Old Trafford on Boxing Day?
I hope so or I’ll kick Zlatan’s ass . . .
Up Man U!