Another international break is upon us and that is a good timing for looking back on what has been done in previous weeks. Manchester United dropped in form between October and November breaks, winning only one Premier League match in the process.
Starker drop in form has been that of Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Armenia international has been searching for his best in previous months. However, he seems to have been finding it hard to show what he is capable of. Manchester United fans have been unhappy with Mkhitaryan going missing, especially in the last four weeks.
Mkhitaryan, actually, had a great start of the season. He made five Premier League assists during the first three matches against West Ham, Swansea and Leicester City. He also scored once in both the league and Champions League and everything was looking fine. However, the things have gone wrong for the Armenian. His influence on matches is very bleak, especially since Paul Pogba’s injury.
Assists Have Dried Up
The Frenchman got injured during opening Champions League match against Basel. All of that had to be a chance for Mkhitaryan to step up his game in Pogba’s absence. Yet, both Mkhitaryan and Lukaku dropped in form without the charismatic midfielder playing along them.
Former Borussia Dortmund man is still sitting at five assists. All of them came in August and ever since his impact on the matches has been poor. Looking at the stats, Mkhitaryan is still amongst the most creative European players, but with a deeper stare at them, the problems are obvious. In eight Premier League matches since August, Mkhitaryan only managed to score a single goal. He is not creating for those around him the way usually did.
In matches against Liverpool and Tottenham, the Armenian was more focused on defensive duties that were put upon him. That is amongst the reasons why he did not create for Lukaku. The match against Chelsea showed the problem even more than before, as Mkhitaryan failed to make any kind of impact against the champions.
Mkhitaryan Is Not A Threat Himself
Jose Mourinho talked few months ago about needing Mkhitaryan to step up his game regarding goals scored. Some ten days later, he scored his only league goal of this campaign, but that was about it. Nothing else happened.
Mkhitaryan is not a threat for opposition when he is the one making shots. It is very nice when he is making assists for those around him, yet Manchester United need a player that will also contribute himself in a more direct way. His tally of 0.16 goals scored per 90 minutes worrying for a standard first team player at a club like Man United. Mkhitaryan is making a mere 1.75 shots per 90 minutes, which almost puts him amongst the worst five per cent of players in that category.
His shooting percentage is not great either, as only one shot in three goes on target. That is because his shot positions are not very good (he is shooting from difficult positions), but also because his finishing is not of a great quality. Mkhitaryan is contributes with only 1.25 dribbles per 90 minutes, showing he is not the best choice when trying to get past opponents in tight areas.
There are plenty of things Mkhitaryan needs to improve. The most obvious one is trying to put himself in a commanding position against high profile opponents.