Henrikh Mkhitaryan is in a position to achieve history for Manchester United when the Reds play in Spain on Thursday night, according to the club’s official website.
The fans’ favourite has already become the first United player to score in four successive away games in Europe – at the expense of Zorya Luhansk, Saint-Etienne, Rostov and Anderlecht – and he can break further new ground if he finds the net against Celta Vigo in the Europa League semi-final first leg.
Should the Armenian strike at Estadio de Balaídos, he’ll be the only star in the club’s history to have scored in five different games on the road within a single European campaign.
David Herd netted on four trips during United’s 1964/65 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup run – namely Djurgardens, Borussia Dortmund, Everton and Strasbourg. Herd also claimed a double in the home leg of the semi-final with Ferencvaros but did not score in two games in Hungary – neither the second leg or the resulting play-off match against the eventual winners.
Dwight Yorke was on the mark in Champions League away fixtures at Bayern Munich, Brondby, Barcelona and Juventus during the Treble season of 1998/99, and Ruud van Nistelrooy matched him by scoring in a quartet of games in the same competition in 2002/03, on visits to Bayer Leverkusen, Basel, Juventus and Real Madrid.
Two other stellar forwards can be added to the list. Cristiano Ronaldo‘s towering header in Moscow against Chelsea in the 2008 shoot-out victory over Chelsea followed earlier efforts at Sporting Lisbon, Dynamo Kiev and Roma. And current captain Wayne Rooney scored in a fourth different match away from Old Trafford in the 2010/11 Champions League campaign when beating Barcelona’s Victor Valdes in the final at Wembley. Rooney had earlier notched in ties at Rangers, Chelsea and Schalke.
A number of players have netted in three matches on the road in Europe during a single season, including centre-back Steve Bruce in the successful 1990/91 European Cup-Winners’ Cup run, when he will feel he was close to making it four with a header in the final, helped over the line from close range by Mark Hughes.
So history could beckon for Mkhitaryan, with his current achievement made even more remarkable by the fact he did not feature at all in the opening away fixture of the Europa League at Feyenoord, and only came on for the last 30 minutes in Turkey against Fenerbahce.