Manchester United fans were full of praise for what was superb performance from Henrikh Mkhitaryan during their side’s 4-1 win over CSKA Moscow in the Champions League.
The Armenian, deployed at No.10 with Anthony Martial and Romelu Lukaku forming a partnership up front, found plenty of space in CSKA’s midfield to run riot and was the creative heartbeat of Man United’s dominant first half performance.
And he claimed his second goal of the season in the first half, latching on to a rebound – similar to his goal away at Anderlecht back in April – from Anthony Martial‘s drive at goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.
Supporters were quick to serenade the 28-year-old following another enterprising display in the middle.
Fickle fans moan, but even during iffy displays, he's constantly probing, never shirks responsibility. Always a threat #MUFC ????
— Jonathan Shrager (@JonathanShrager) September 27, 2017
Mkhitaryan – different player this season, he's going to take us very far! Loving watching him right now! pic.twitter.com/ZZh2XwIigT
— Stretford Paddock (@StretfordPaddck) September 27, 2017
Henrikh Mkhitaryan has a habit of popping up with a goal and an assist this season. Looks a completely different player. United ruthless.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) September 27, 2017
Mkhitaryan was a lot better than he has been recently. Herrera too. Martial was definitely MotM. Matic class as usual. No surprises there.
— Prince (@princeRWT) September 27, 2017
Henrikh Mkhitaryan This Season
2 Goals pic.twitter.com/qUaKI4jtNk
— Nduka (@Daniel_ND_) September 27, 2017
The tactical conditions were perfect for Mkhitaryan. Mourinho responded to CSKA’s implementation of a back three by matching the hosts’ shape, pitting the Armenian, Romelu Lukaku and Martial right up against their back three, with the latter often drifting out to the left and Lukaku running in behind.
And the end result was acres of space. CSKA’s defence had no idea where to stand and Nemanja Matic kept the midfield occuipied, feeding the ball forward for United’s playmaker to inflict constant damage.
He was innovative, sharp, nimble, devastatingly slippery, accurate with his passing, and once again on target in Europe – a performance that magnified just how vital Mkhitaryan will be in this competition.