The man signed from Borussia Dortmund last season soon became a fans favourite, hailed as Manchester United’s ‘midfield Armenian, but the 28-year-old has begun to divide opinion.
When you look past the unbelievable scorpion kick goal last season and his admittedly crucial goal in the Europa League final, the contribution of Mkhitaryan in big games, in particular, has to be put under the microscope.
The United number-22 started the season all guns blazing, recording five assists in a record-breaking three games, finding the net twice too.
Since the injury of Paul Pogba, the blistering form that the Red Devils were in, and Mkhitaryan in particular, has unquestionably faded.
Romelu Lukaku is not a striker that should be going on a run of seven games without a goal, the Belgian has certainly been affected the worst in the absence of Pogba.
When a striker is in a run of form like Lukaku currently is, you are looking to your ‘number-ten’, which has been Mkhitaryan, to provide him.
Its the games against the top-six that really shows Mkhitaryan up, he has been almost anonymous in the games against Liverpool and Chelsea.
It is granted that Jose Mourinho didn’t set his team up at Anfield in a way where Mkhitaryan could flourish, but even on the counter-attack, you’d expect a Manchester United attacking midfielder to be the catalyst.
Romelu Lukaku probably had one of his most frustrating 90-minutes that day, stood up front chasing hopeful balls with no real creativity feeding through to him whatsoever.
Jose Mourinho’s side slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge last Sunday, a game they really needed to take something from after Manchester City won 3-1 against Arsenal prior to the game.
After a bright first twenty-minutes from United, they fell into their usual ways once more. They had bodies behind the ball, saw little of the football, and resorted to Marouane Fellaini who proved to be their most likely source of an equaliser.
Mesut Ozil has been the subject of similar criticism in these types of games, but one thing the German does is see a lot of the ball, he’s constantly making passes and touching the ball, regardless of his impact in doing so.
Mkhitaryan remarkably fails to even do that, and if Jose Mourinho was to compare his attacking midfield with his neighbours’ Manchester City, I’m not sure how he can expect his side to be the ones lifting the Premier League trophy in May.
Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are reaping the rewards from playing in a team in which they are provided endlessly with chances.
Whether it’s Sterling, Sane, Silva, or most typically this season, De Bruyne, there’s always someone in that City midfield creating the openings, unlocking the door.
That is what Manchester United are really missing, and whilst the brute force of Lukaku can be devastating, he is nowhere near hitting the heights he should be and it isn’t a coincidence.