Mkhitaryan’s rise in form and what might be causing this. by Nick
Over the past couple games, many players have stood out. Players like Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all have been performing well recently. But the one player out of those 3 that has really impressed me is Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Recently returning from a lengthy injury layoff, Mkhitaryan has been playing intriguingly well. Before his injury, he was nothing close to what he was after it. Sometimes playing sloppy balls, and just overall looking lethargic and uninterested in the game around him. Now it seems like his whole attitude and confidence has been completely rejuvenated as a player.
Since returning he has managed to score 2 goals and assist 3 in only 3 premier league games. But it’s not only his goals and assists that have made him stand out, his overall play has really impressed me. I’ve been watching him close recently, and I’ve noticed his play off the ball is an important aspect of him getting these goal scoring chances. He’s been playing more closely to our strikers which is giving him the opportunity to get the ball to feet and make a pass or a goal scoring opportunity directly.
But what is causing this great run of form from the Armenian? I have a personal theory on it and I feel it’s a reasonable one. In my personal view of watching him play before his injury, leads me to believe that he may have had an injury of some sorts already. Whether it was the foot injury that eventually led him to be sidelined for six weeks, or if it was a different one, it’s not completely unbelievable that he could have had a pre-existing problem.
Another reason that could be giving Mkhitaryan this boost of confidence since returning, is that he’s been given a more advanced and narrow role. Before he was playing rather wide, resulting in a lack of goal scoring and goal creating chances. Now it looks like he plays up the middle rather than the wing, resulting in goals like the 2 we’ve seen from him.
I’ve noticed recently that he’s also been getting into the box more than usual. Before he wouldn’t go too deep into the box. I think now that he’s doing this, it’s giving more opportunities to either score or assist. Whether his assist to Lacazette was intended to be a pass or a shot, his ability to get into the box that fast from a counter attack and find space was excellent play. Same goes with his goal that day. When their goalkeeper made the mistake of giving the ball away, Mkhitaryan was already running to the box to find space, and all Iwobi had to do was dink it to him, leading to a goal.
Wether it was that he had an injury before or if it is a confidence thing, I’m really enjoying watching Henrikh Mkhitaryan play now. His rise in form comes just in time for the big game on Saturday against our North London rivals. If he plays the same way he has been this weekend, he will be a crucial part in securing 3 points, and walking away just one point off third place.