Gary Neville believes that Henrikh Mkhitaryan changed the game during Manchester United’s 3-0 win over Leicester City on Sunday.
Jose Mourinho‘s men begun slowly, clearly struggling to function in a 4-4-2 system, before ultimately switching to a more familiar 4-2-3-1 after 20 minutes.
The tweak wreaked havoc, with Mkhitaryan immediately asserting himself at No.10 with a sumptuous solo effort in the 42nd minute.
And Neville, who handed Mkhitaryan the Sky Sports Man of the Match award, noted that the Armenian changed the game for Man United.
“Mkhitaryan changed the game,” he said.
“The positional change was good from Jose Mourinho but then he took the opportunity in the number 10 role. The first goal was excellent.”
United simply couldn’t get going during the opening stages against Claudio Ranieri’s side. This was the first time that Mourinho opted to start with a 4-4-2 system this season and it will most likely be his last as well. The gap between midfield and attack was astronomical; Mkhitaryan and Mata, forced to play out wide, couldn’t ease into the game; and Paul Pogba found himself unsure over whether to burst forward or remain alongside Ander Herrera.
After 20 minutes, Mourinho had seen enough – 17 minutes after most of us noted that something was off – and reverted to a 4-2-3-1, placing Mkhitaryan at No.10, with the end result being a picture of pure devastation at the expense of Leicester’s morale.