United's Zlatan-Rooney pairing on song
The Zlatan-Rooney striker partnership shows promising signs
(Adam Smith 69)
MAN UNITED 3
(Juan Mata 40, Wayne Rooney 59, Zlatan Ibrahimovic 64)
They said it wouldn't work, that two heavyweights of world football could not work together as a cohesive strike force.
Clearly both Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic did not receive, or at least heed, that particular memo.
The mercurial duo disproved the doubters last night by showing that Manchester United are big enough for both powerhouses to lead their frontline.
In the space of five minutes, the pair had issued a firm rebuttal to critics with a goal apiece against Bournemouth that heralded the dawn of a new era at Old Trafford.
More than winds of change were required to blow through the red half of Manchester this summer, following a prolonged period of sleepwalking that yielded only a solitary FA Cup as a misleading measure of progress during that time.
Jose Mourinho - a Category 1 hurricane if ever there was one - was the perfect catalyst to rouse United from their longest EPL title drought, inadvertently triggered by Sir Alex Ferguson calling time on his trophy-laden dynasty in 2013, as he is already proving.
Yet it was the Portuguese's capture of Ibrahimovic which truly stirred the pot; supposedly signalling the death knell to Rooney's time at the top for the Red Devils.
Shunted into midfield for both club and country last season, dropping deeper suggested that the former boy wonder would slip into the twilight of his career long before time.
For his part, Mourinho firmly put the stops on that theme by insisting Rooney's days of deputising had ended with the deposed tenures of Louis van Gaal and Roy Hodgson.
Forging a partnership with Ibrahimovic, however, would be easier said than done.
The Swede - a man that is myth, legend and ego all rolled into one - is not exactly a player renowned for his acts of on-field selflessness.
But, on the English coast yesterday, the pair struck an early understanding midway through the second half as Rooney pounced on a ball from the former Paris Saint-Germain captain to steal in and take aim at Artur Boruc in the Bournemouth goal.
Prolificacy may have failed the 30-year-old as he fluffed his lines with a tame effort but that early pattern of play augurs well for Mourinho's vision of an all-conquering attack.
Throwing the creativity of a returning Paul Pogba, suspended for this encounter, into the mix will provide a heady concoction that will marry creativity with the goal-scoring and guile of two players with a combined total of 532 goals between them.
A further two belatedly followed in their own right; with Rooney instinctively shaping his body to head home after the ball fell to him from Anthony Martial's scuffed shot into the turf.
Ibrahimovic, meanwhile, turned on the style with a low, driven shot from 25 metres which caught the hosts off guard as he added another feat to his increasing list of personal accolades.
Now, with a goal on each of his five debut outings in four of Europe's top leagues as well as the Champions League, the 34-year-old's appetite remains insatiable.
"Just warming up" was how he described his foray into the English top flight - the prospect of Ibrahimovic at full capacity and operating seamlessly in tandem with Rooney should give countless defenders across the EPL many a sleepless night.