First of all, the answer to what? The United teams of the post-Fergie era have undoubtedly struggled to create chances and that has been a by-product of a slow, side-ways, Serie A style of playing which left me travelling home from the Theatre of Goalless draws frustrated every other week. Creating chances, funnily enough, leads to goals and if I know football, goals help win games and winning games is good. When the Reds announced Jose Mourinho as LVG’s successor, many people questioned whether his teams played the attacking football so desperately craved when facing the defensive setup teams come to Old Trafford with. Despite critics claiming Mourinho is a ‘park the bus’ kind of manager, I can’t remember Chelsea playing boring football with Jose at the helm. He may have gone 2-0 up and closed the game out, but the first half an hour in which those goals went in were exciting.
I made up my mind that this season would be different to previous years and in some respects, I was right as the football has been more ‘United friendly.’ To be honest with the addition of Pogba, Zlatan and Mkhi it had to be. However, I’m sure most United fans would agree that it has only been the past two or three months that the feeling of excitement around Old Trafford has returned. And that is the same amount of time that Mkhitaryan has been a regularly difficult name on the team sheet for every club’s press officer.
In the 2015/16 season, Manchester United recorded 29 assists. Mkhitaryan alone finished the season with over half that number at his former club, as well as creating 82 chances with an average passing accuracy of 75%. The 28-year-old Armenian is quick, direct and aggressive with the ball at his feet and that is what United fans want. Teams come to Old Trafford and happily sit 11 men in their own 6-yard box and it needs someone who will pick up the ball and drive straight at them to breakthrough. I expected Pogba to do that more but thankfully, Mkhi has shown the sort of flair that has proved the difference in numerous matches recently.
He will not carry the team to a league title, but he adds creativity and a high tempo that provides a real threat to most teams and he slots into the system well. United’s next four games are all in cup competitions and it’s unsure how much game time Mkhitaryan will get. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure, United look a far better team when he’s in it.