Stars fall with an intensity and speed that can rival few others, which certainly lessens the impact of their earlier shine.
This precisely seems to be the case for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who started off this season in electric form and led many pundits to believe that he would be Europe’s next big playmaker.
However, in the months since, not even a glimmer of that brilliance has been in evidence, and the Armenian has been often relegated to the bench, and in recent games, left out of matchday squads altogether.
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The alleged reason behind why he lost his form reveals that he might not be entirely at fault for his fall from grace.
According to Manchester Evening News, Mkhitaryan’s creativity upfront has been stifled as a result of Mourinho’s renewed defensive demands from his offensive players.
It is believed that the 28-year-old had been assigned additional defensive duties in a bid to stabilize the squad, and as a result, his playmaking skills have suffered enormously.
While what was required defensively seemed to have been achieved well by the player, it opened up a flaw in deploying him upfront, and it is one that has led to his ousting since.
The defeats to Huddersfield and Chelsea were where these chinks began to show the most, and the dropping of points against the Blues was where the former Borussia Dortmund star had to face the ire of supporters and management alike.
In the matches since, Mourinho outlined a gradual removal of Mkhitaryan from the squad, first keeping him to the bench and then not deploying him at all, accusing him of ‘disappearing’ when given the chance to be involved as well.
Most recently, Mourinho revealed that Mkhitaryan’s absence from even the bench was just to make way for talents better suited for the demands of United’s playing style in recent games.
If the current trend continues even when the transfer window commences, it wouldn’t be surprising if the talented player seeks to provide his services elsewhere.
Written by Naveen Kelvin
A writer trying to craft the poetry within football. Purpose in life is to Make Good Art.