Henrikh Mkhitaryan has made a significant impact at Manchester United since joining the club from Borussia Dortmund on 6 July 2016, according to a report on the club’s official website.
The midfield Armenian reached double figures for goals during his debut campaign and won the club’s Goal of the Season award with his stunning scorpion kick against Sunderland. He also made history by scoring in five European games away from Old Trafford, including the Europa League final.
Ahead of the first anniversary of his arrival, the report looks back at Micki’s story so far, month by month…
JULY 2016 (3 GAMES, 1 GOAL)
“This move is a dream come true for me,” said Mkhitaryan on joining United and it wasn’t long before fans got a first glimpse of him in action. Superb in his first pre-season outing away to Wigan, he later scored against his former employers Borussia Dortmund in Shanghai.
AUGUST 2016 (4 GAMES, 0 GOALS)
Mkhitaryan’s first United medal arrived on 7 August, after the Community Shield win over Leicester City in which he came on for Juan Mata. A week later, he became the first-ever Armenian to play in England’s top flight when making his Premier League bow as a substitute against Bournemouth. Although Jose Mourinho opted to ease Henrikh into his new surroundings, the boss continued to predict big things from the midfielder, saying: “Mkhitaryan is a super football player and will give us a lot during the season.”
SEPTEMBER 2016 (1 GAME, 0 GOALS)
This was a frustrating month for Mkhitaryan, largely due to a thigh injury picked up during the international break. He appeared to aggravate the problem during his first Premier League start – in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford – and a long absence from the side began.
OCTOBER 2016 (0 GAMES, 0 GOALS)
The midfielder was excused from Armenia duty in October, in order to continue his rehabilitation in Manchester. “Micki needs time to become the top player he knows he can be,” said Mourinho later in the month, after confirming Henrikh had returned to full training. “In his case, the process was interrupted by injury, which does not help the process of evolution.”
NOVEMEBER 2016 (4 GAMES, 0 GOALS)
Mkhitaryan was handed his second start for the club during United’s 4-0 win over Feyenoord in the Europa League, a game which sparked his Reds career into life. He was given a standing ovation at Old Trafford following a Man-of-the-Match display, and he was the star performer again during a 4-1 win over West Ham in the EFL Cup. When asked if the Feyenoord game could represent a new beginning for him, he replied: “I hope so, let’s see…”
DECEMBER 2016 (5 GAMES, 3 GOALS)
Micki was back to his brilliant best before and around Christmas as he quickly followed up his first goal for the club with two more memorable strikes. Henrikh opened his United account with a fine run and finish against Zorya Luhansk, before scoring the only goal as the Reds beat eventual Premier League runners-up Tottenham at Old Trafford just three days later. His third, a perfectly-executed scorpion kick against Sunderland, was a joy to behold. “It was the best goal I’ve ever scored!” he exclaimed afterwards.
JANUARY 2017 (5 GAMES, 1 GOAL)
Mkhitaryan’s eye-catching form continued into the new year, as he started five of United’s seven games in January. Henrikh scored a superb goal during the Reds’ 4-0 victory over Wigan in the FA Cup fourth round, which would later earn him a second consecutive Goal of the Month award, but perhaps his most important contribution came in another cup competition, as his assist for Juan Mata helped Mourinho’s men build an advantage over Hull in the EFL Cup semi-final.
FEBRUARY 2017 (5 GAMES, 2 GOALS)
The Armenian again proved too hot to handle for defenders at home and abroad. While goals against Leicester and Saint-Etienne respectively meant he continued to make a mark in attack, his willingness to track back brought plenty of praise from players and pundits. In fact, with Mkhitaryan in the side, the Reds conceded just once in February, but still went on to beat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 in the FA Cup. “It’s not always about scoring goals, it’s about what you give to the team,” he said. Although injury meant he missed the EFL Cup final, this was another positive month.
MARCH 2017 (3 GAMES, 1 GOAL)
It was a case of new month, same Mkhitaryan just two weeks later, as Henrikh netted yet another vital away goal in Europe, this time against FC Rostov. It was one of three appearances in March for the fit-again attacker, as he signed off for the international break in fine form. He told MUTV: “We’re having a good time now, we’re having good games, we have a good squad and we can reach the maximum that we want.”
APRIL 2017 (8 GAMES, 3 GOALS)
Mkhitaryan missed just one game in April, and netted in the 3-0 Premier League win at Sunderland, as well as in both legs of United’s Europa League quarter-final against Anderlecht. The first of those strikes, another excellent solo run and finish, would later win him a fourth Goal of the Month prize in just five months. Not bad!
MAY 2017 (6 GAMES, 1 GOAL)
After helping the Reds overcome Celta Vigo to reach the Europa League final, Micki’s most telling contribution came in the very last game of the campaign, the Stockholm showdown itself. His acrobatic effort gave United an unassailable 2-0 lead and, you guessed it, earned him yet another Goal of the Month award. It was the perfect ending to the Armenian’s memorable first season with the Reds.