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28th Dec 2016

Here’s why Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be desperate to score twice against Middlesbrough

He'll want to get those goals...

Robert Redmond

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is silencing the doubters.

The Swedish striker scored his 17th goal of the season on Monday as Manchester United beat Sunderland 3-1.

He also set up the other two for Jose Mourinho’s side and made a mockery of any suggestions that he can’t cut it in the Premier League age 35.

Manchester United v Sunderland - Premier League

Ibrahimovic, in his¬†last 10 games in all competitions, has scored 11 goals and his upturn in form has coincided with United’s impressive recent results.

Mourinho will be confident of continuing that good form against Middlesbrough on Saturday. While Ibrahimovic will have an added incentive to be among the goals.

Middlesbrough lost last time out away to Burnley, and have only won away from home once this season – against Sunderland back in August.

That loss against fellow promoted side Burnley came thanks to a late howler from Victor Valdes. If the former United goalkeeper is as generous on Saturday, Zlatan could easily beat Lionel Messi to an impressive accolade.

Manchester United v Sunderland - Premier League

Ibrahimovic’s goal against Sunderland was his 50th in 2016, and leaves him one short of Lionel Messi as the top scorer in Europe’s major leagues this year.

Luis Suarez is third with 48, Cristiano Ronaldo has 42 and Robert Lewandowski has 39.

As the Spanish and German leagues are on a winter break, two goals for Ibrahimovic against Middlesbrough will make him the year’s top scorer.

Not bad considering he’s 35.

Ibrahimovic has scored 17 goals for United this year, and got 33 for his former club Paris Saint-Germain.