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There was a time when Manchester United fans voiced their frustration regarding Henrikh Mkhitaryan not receiving enough chances. Now, the frustration remains intact but it intensifies when Jose Mourinho provides chances for the player. He has been on the receiving end of plenty of criticism from fans and critics alike, throughout the past month or so. Having assisted 5 goals in the opening weeks of the season, plenty were sneering at Jose Mourinho’s decision to freeze him out for large spells when he first joined the club last season.
However, all that has changed now. A player who can be dubbed as a ‘stats padder’, Mkhitaryan received flak even in the games where he provided goals, since he went missing for substantial chunks of the game.
In fact, one would hardly notice him on the pitch with him touching the ball, and yet he goes on to suddenly provide an assist. While that does boost his numbers, his overall contribution remains significantly low. Numbers are not everything in football, and it is because of this very reason that United desperately need him to produce better results. At present, their attack looks blunt and Mkhitaryan could be the key to them improving their attack.
While it’s obviously important for players, particularly in Mkhitaryan’s position, to be heavily involved in the game, they are judged on the impact they have on the result. So he might not have done an awful lot over the 90 minutes but if he put in a perfect cross to set up a goal, then his inclusion would have fairly well been justified. Unfortunately for the Red Devils, Mkhitaryan hasn’t really been contributing. He hasn’t provided goals, and it has come to a point where his presence doesn’t really matter.
Previously, he at least had the statistics to justify his place in the team. He might not look as though he was doing an awful lot, but at least he was providing the side with goals. That’s not happening anymore, and this is a worrisome prospect for Mourinho as well as the fans.
United went unbeaten in their first 12 games so Mkhitaryan avoided too much scrutiny. Everything was fine then, but their story took a major turn recently and things are not that great now – especially after their defeat to Chelsea. With things going against United, they can’t afford to have one of their creative players as a mere passenger, and things can change for them only if Mkhitaryan rectifies his ways.