Saturday, September 30, 2023

Can This £26m Signing Turn The Fortunes Around For Man United: How Jose Can Get It Working Again

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Anas Molla
An ageing teenager who apparently still likes Twenty One Pilots and HIMYM. Also fascinated by Greek and Egyptian mythology and history. Still waiting for my man Milos Raonic to win a Grand Slam.

Man United once again made an array of new signings this summer, bringing in a bunch of superstar from the game, one of them was Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Armenian midfielder became the first Premier League player to represent Armenia. However, the 27-year-old hasn’t had a good time at Old Trafford so far.

Having arrived from German giants Borussia Dortmund for a fee of £26m, one would have expected him to be a regular starter in the first team. However, Mkhitaryan has enjoyed only 104 mins of football all competitions this season, in which he has started only one game for the Red Devils.

The Armenian has struggled with both fitness and form since arriving at Old Trafford and it’s fair to say that the playmaker is yet to receive a real chance by Jose Mourinho so far.

Against Bournemouth, Jose opted for Juan Mata instead of Mkhitaryan and against Leicester, Jesse Lingard was preferred choice and both the players scored on their day, leaving Miki with more pressure of proving himself to the club and the manager.

Manchester United's Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan vies with Hull City's English midfielder Tom Huddlestone during the English Premier League football match between Hull City and Manchester United at the KCOM Stadium in Kingston upon Hull, north east England on August 27, 2016. Manchester united won the game 1-0. / AFP / Lindsey PARNABY / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)

However, Jose Mourinho, when asked about Mkhitaryan’s omission from key games last month (when he was fit), replied, “Options! I went to the game against Leicester and I was reading the game and I thought we needed the speed of Jesse Lingard.”

“And against Bournemouth, I thought they wanted to press really high and a player like Juan Mata coming inside could reach some spaces behind the lines of pressure and it could be very useful for us. And I decided to play Rooney both games in that position close to Zlatan and I didn’t start with Mikhy,” he added.

Having said that, there is no doubt about Mkhitaryan’s credentials as a top draw player.

Mkhitaryan made his mark on Borussia Dortmund last season, scoring a whopping 23 goals and providing 32 assists, he was directly involved in Borussia Dortmund’s 50% goal last season under Thomas Tuchel in all competitions.

One thing that might vary his performances though is the playing style implemented by the club. Last season, the appointment of Thomas Tuchel as a new Borussia Dortmund manager played a very important role in Mkhitaryan’s career.

The possession-based game of new coach Thomas Tuchel suited Miki’s fluent style of play and thus he was a massive success last season. While under Jürgen Klopp, we all are aware of his failure as a Dortmund player. He suffered two terrible seasons under Klopp after arriving at Dortmund for a club record fee of 27 million euros. The main reason behind his failure was the playing style of Jürgen Klopp, which hardly gave any freedom for Mkhitaryan and quick pressing didn’t suit the Armenian, eventually opening the door for him to leave the club, only for Thomas Tuchel to get the best out of him.

Considering Jose Mourinho’s style of play, which focuses on keeping the defense stable and then attacking the opposition with a certain game plan, Miki doesn’t seem to be the greatest of fits. However, the former Chelsea coach wasn’t shy to let go his opinion about his playmaker, saying, “Some managers when they buy players, when it is their decision to buy players, the first thing they think is to protect themselves and to protect their choices,” he added.

“The players they buy have to play all the time. I am not like this. Before me comes the team, and what I think is the best for the team.

“In those two matches, Mata and Lingard were the best options for the team, adapted to the reality of the Premier League so I made that decision.

“But Mkhitaryan is a super football player and he will be given a lot of opportunities this season.”

The playmaker is now available for selection once again and will now be keen to work on his fitness levels in the coming weeks.

He also posted a photo on twitter about his fitness and the fact that he will be coming back after dealing with rough injuries.


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