One of the more frustrating Manchester United careers of recent years has come to an end, as Henrikh Mkhitaryan has joined Arsenal. The — playmaker? winger? perennial underwhelmist? — player has exchanged places with Alexis Sánchez, a deal which seems to suit everybody.
Welcome to Arsenal, @HenrikhMkh https://t.co/NqL8qq1uGK— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) January 22, 2018
Allocating the blame for Mkhitaryan’s weird spell at United is, we suspect, going to be a matter of opinion. Maybe Jose Mourinho never worked out a system to maximise his talents, or an environment to keep him happy. Maybe Mkhitaryan just shrank in the shirt. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s a little bit of both. Anyway, Arsene Wenger is a very different manager, and perhaps his arm-around-the-shoulder stylings will suit Mkhitaryan better.
He also suffered, in the view of this aspect of tBB, from Little Curl Syndrome: when he was bad, he looked horrid. Some players can ride out dodgy patches of form with their bustle and tenacity, while others still look competent even when they’re not contributing much. But an out-of-form Mkhitaryan looks like he’s never seen a football before, much less thought about kicking one into a vaguely useful area.
Anyway, best of luck to him. Except on 28 April, when Arsenal visit United. One more anonymous performance on the Old Trafford pitch will do very nicely indeed.