By Andy Hyslop
- The rise of Mkhitaryan could see the fall of Mata
It looks increasingly likely that summer signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be a key player for Manchester United this season.
The rise of Mkhitaryan could see Juan Mata becoming the fall guy in the Manchester United first-team. Something that many thought would happen as soon as Jose Mourinho arrived at Old Trafford in the summer.
Despite being named as captain by Mourinho in several games earlier in the season, Mata days as a regular first-team starter for Manchester United could be under threat.
Mkhitaryan brings added pace
I’m sure every Manchester United supporter around the world would be sad to see Mata leave Old Trafford but if he isn’t starting games on a regular basis he may decide to move on.
Mata is a very skilful player who is able to create and score goals for his team but at times he can slow the play down. With Ibrahimović occupying the lone striker role, he needs pace around him.
The Swedish forward is often dropping deep to pick up the ball and therefore if Manchester United are to be successful they need pace around him.
There are times when Ibrahimović drops deep or moves out wide and their is no one in the opposition box. Mkhitaryan has the intelligence to run beyond the Swede and get himself into the penalty area.
His goal against Sunderland yesterday is a prime example of this. Lets forget about the exquisite finish and the fact he was offside for a minute.
Mkhitaryan ghosted into an area that Ibrahimović had left vacant as he moved out wide and Swede was able to deliver a cross for the Armenian to score the magnificent goal.
There were times in the first-half of this game and other games this season where Ibrahimović has moved out wide and he hasn’t been able to deliver a ball into the area because there is no one there.
Although Manchester United put together some good attacking moves before the introduction of Mkhitaryan yesterday, the build-up was slow and his arrival gave Manchester United an added impetus in attack. if you like they went up at least two gears.