Why Mourinho is taking the Mkhi by leaving out Man United ace

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A versatile attacking midfielder-cum-winger who chalked up 20 Bundesliga assists last season, scored 23 goals in all competitions and offered boundless energy.

That sounds like exactly the sort of player Manchester United could do with in their side. So why aren’t they playing Henrikh Mkhitaryan?

The Armenian has played just 105 minutes of Premier League football under Jose Mourinho, with his lively cameos in the victories over Hull City, Bournemouth and Southampton apparently not sufficiently impressive for the Portuguese gaffer.

His lack of game time would be somewhat understandable if United’s other midfield men were in fine fettle, but the majority of those getting regular starts are underperforming.

Paul Pogba has failed to impact on games, while the trio of Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini have a single assist between them in 36 Premier League outings combined.

So, there’s little doubt that Mourinho needs to bite the bullet and bring Mkhitaryan into the starting XI. But alongside who?

If the Armenian is deployed in an attacking midfield role, Michael Carrick seems the best bet, despite the former Tottenham man’s advancing years. A neat and tidy passer of the ball, the 35-year-old would sit deeper, sweep-up and feed his attack-minded teammate, who boasts an exceptional long-range strike.

However, Mkhitaryan’s neat footwork and whipped crosses mean he’s equally effective on the wing, and could provide a good partner for the similarly rapid Memphis Depay – who may benefit from playing alongside a player of such experience.

With the Armenian having travelled to Turkey for tomorrow night’s meeting with Fenerbahce, it does look like Mourinho might finally be ready to give the 27-year-old a long-overdue 90 minutes on the pitch.

Man United are 5/4 to win in Turkey, with Mkhitaryan 8/1 to show Jose what he’s been missing by opening the scoring.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.