Henrikh Mkhitaryan could be the difference for Manchester United as they look to avoid a repeat of last season’s misery at West Ham United, according to former Red Devils striker Michael Owen.
United have bad memories of their last trip to face Slaven Bilic’s men when on May 10 their bus was attacked on the way to West Ham’s former stadium Upton Park, before they then suffered a 3-2 defeat which hit their hopes of Champions League qualification.
Jose Mourinho’s side travel to Monday’s game at West Ham’s new home, the London Stadium, on the back of five league wins a in a row, with new signings Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in form, but West Ham have only lost once in their last five league fixtures.
Owen told BetVictor: “Both sides look to be improving and this should be a cracking game. United lost their last ever league game at Upton Park last season but I don’t think they will lose their first game at the London Stadium.
“Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan have been sensational in recent weeks and the latter could be the difference between the sides on Monday.”
The Armenia international was back in United’s starting lineup for the 2-1 win over Middlesbrough on Saturday and he was impressive, playing the full 90 minutes. In the previous game, five days earlier, the 27-year-old had come off the bench and scored a stunning flicked goal against Sunderland in a 3-1 victory.
Discussing Mkhitaryan on Sky Sports, United midfielder Ander Herrera added: “The fans and the club and the staff have been patient with him — that’s what I like with this club.
“They knew how good he is but, in football, it is not always the case that in your first second you will perform at your best. You have to settle down in one place, adapt yourself to a new life and club, to a new role.
“Now we are seeing the best Mkhitaryan. Or almost the best because I think he can be even better.”