After an impressive 2-0 win over Southampton on Friday night, Manchester United fans will be excited about the campaign ahead and be confident of a potential Premier League title challenge.
The additions of Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and world football’s most-expensive player Paul Pogba all look inspired, while Jose Mourinho’s dedication to success appears to be rubbing off.
For all of United’s summer recruits to prove to be worthwhile in the team’s quest for silverware, Henrikh Mkhitaryan will need to be given more time on the pitch.
Undoubtedly talented, a goal threat and incredibly creative, the Armenia international was a star at Borussia Dortmund and could well be a considerable asset to the Old Trafford outfit.
— Henrikh Mkhitaryan (@HenrikhMkh) August 14, 2016
In the first two games of the season Mourinho has opted to start Mkhitaryan from the substitutes’ bench, with the playmaker coming on to put in late cameos in both matches.
Most of the mainstream media suggest it is only a matter of time until the Armenian starts to get the nod to play ahead of Juan Mata.
However, even if this is the case, there is no guarantee that Mkhitaryan will replicate his sublime Dortmund feats in England.
During his time at Signal Iduna Park, the attacking midfielder had both incredible spells of excellent form and underwhelming stints.
These were linked to the position that Mkhitaryan was afforded.
Rooney-lovers, look away.
This would be the attacking line-up I’d be inclined to go for:
Martial, Mata, Mkhitaryan; Ibrahimović.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) August 19, 2016
As a number ten behind a solitary striker, the former Shakhtar Donetsk man pulled the strings for the Bundesliga side, scoring and creating goals at will.
However, when he was deployed in a wide position, Mkhitaryan found himself on the fringes of the game and nowhere near as influential.
A warning close to home should be in Mourinho’s mind when dealing with the gifted playmaker.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: Has registered more assists (29) than any other player in the last 3 Bundesliga seasons pic.twitter.com/aFtJgVH5Iz
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 14, 2016
Shinji Kagawa was also signed by United from Dortmund after stellar performances for the German side as a number ten.
He was asked to play wide for the Red Devils. He left Old Trafford as a failure.
Currently at United, with Wayne Rooney seemingly set to assume the role of second striker behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic, just where Mkhitaryan fits into the team remains to be seen.
Even if he claims Mata’s current role on the right of midfield in coming weeks, Mourinho will quickly find out that the Armenian is much more effective utilised centrally and playing him on the wing could nullify his unique abilities.