BY VAN DER-MEGERDICHIAN
Special to Asbarez
In light of our favorite Armenian soccer player’s recent plight, many have jumped to conclusions and speculation has run rampant across both the footballing and Armenian communities.
Conjecture aside, it is evident that Henrikh Mkhitaryan has fallen out of favor with Manchester United’s manager Jose Mourinho, having been absent from the 18-man roster in eight of the last nine matches.
With the January transfer window nearly approaching, there has been much talk of whether the Armenian international will remain with Manchester United by the end of the transfer window.
Much of the discussions have included Henrikh Mkhitaryan departing the English side with many suitors available who covet his intricate style of play for he would be an immediate asset to essentially every club in Europe’s top leagues. Italian sides Inter Milan and Juventus are leading the chase for the Armenian, however the likeliest destination for Mkhitaryan seems to be the playmaker’s former club Borussia Dortmund, who are eager to have their former star and number 10 return to top form at the Signal Iduna Park.
However, with recent news linking the Armenian to his former club in Germany, Manchester United’s manager in his latest press conference revealed that Henrikh Mkhitaryan may be given a chance to impress at Ashton Gate in a league cup fixture against Bristol City on Wednesday, December 20th.
Having not started a match since November 5, the Armenian is licking his lips at a chance to re-establish himself within the starting lineup in an attempt to return to his early season form.
The time seems ripe for Mkhitaryan, as December is what all Premier League football fans look forward to, where many of the teams have up to eight fixtures during the Christmas season, including four games within the next 10 days for Manchester United. Hopefully Jose Mourinho will shuffle his roster and as a result we will see lots of the crafty Armenian playmaker.
It is evident Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s talent and skillset are there, with the player being the most dominant footballer, technically and tactically in all the respective clubs and leagues he has played in whether it be Shakhtar Donetsk in the Ukrainian Premier League or Borussia Dortmund in the German Bundesliga.
Simultaneously, to completely understand the circumstance, one must comprehend the style of play and tactical approach of Jose Mourinho, the renowned Portuguese manager in charge at United. Mourinho, one of the most decorated manager’s in the history of football is known for his win-at-all-odds approach, much of which includes a largely defensive and counter-attacking system which has frozen out several extremely talented and skillful offensive players in the past such as Juan Mata, Kevin De Bruyne and Kaka.
One reason as to why the Armenian has fallen out of favor is the lack of opportunities and chances created during play for United. Mkhitaryan’s fall from grace can be traced to the injury of fellow midfielder, Paul Pogba. Mkhitaryan and Pogba, arguably two of the best in the world at their trade, have been instrumental to the team’s victories and success at the start of the season. With the injury to the French midfielder, the pressure of playmaking and creating fell solely on the shoulders of the Armenian. With all this said, there have been many players under-performing and it seems as if the Armenian is being scapegoated for the lack of production on the attacking end. Belgian forward, Romelu Lukaku’s form has also suffered but due to his hefty £75 million price tag and the manager’s hubris, he has not been subject to the same criticism the Armenian has from the manager.
We hope Mkhitaryan will be able to regain his form and make his return to starting lineup as soon as possible to help the club do what the club does best, creating stars and winning trophies. Free Mkhitaryan!