Three Truths: Vintage Wayne Rooney and Henrikh Mkhitaryan's unforgiveable treatment
There were plenty of talking points on a fascinating night at Old Trafford. Eurosport's writers take a look...
1. Rooney is rejuvenated... finally!
What on earth has happened to Wayne Rooney?!
Ever since that late-night tipple he’s looked like a completely different player. And against West Ham on Wednesday night it was like the clock had been turned back a decade, such was the dynamism and craft with which ‘Wazza’ was playing.
Maybe it’s just a temporary aberration in Rooney’s downward spiral, but on this sort of corking form he’s well worth a starting spot for both club and country. His passing is crisp, his drive and determination is back and – most surprisingly – he seems to have found an extra yard of pace.
Whisper it quietly, but Rooney might just be approaching his vintage.
2. Mkhitaryan omission ridiculous
We don’t want to claim we could do a better job than Jose Mourinho… but why on earth has Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s absence stretched this long?
It took 93 seconds for the Armenian to provide a reminder of his talents against West Ham, with his deft backheel providing the opener for Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Along with Anthony Martial on the opposite flank – the Frenchman also proving a welcome returnee – the United attack ripped the Hammers apart with their searing pace. How many times have we said that in the past few seasons?
Mkhitaryan’s omission has coincided with United all-but throwing away their title hopes; his return – which surely must now follow – could at least help salvage their season. He has to play, Jose.
3. Payet deserves better
By no means did Dimitri Payet have a good game against Manchester United on Wednesday evening, in fact he was actually pretty poor, but most of what little West Ham did create came through the Frenchman. This theme has run true throughout the season, West Ham and Payet have been way below the levels they set last season, but the attacking midfielder still regularly looks like the team's best player.
Over the summer Payet was heavily linked with a move away from the club, and rightly so given how well he played, scoring nine goals and registering 12 assists. Like Riyad Mahrez, the player who beat him to the PFA Player of the Year award, he elected to stay put, but unlike the Algerian there has been no silver lining. Leicester City have been poor in the league, admittedly not as poor as West Ham, but they have produced some memorable performances in the Champions League.
It's hard to see things improving for the Hammers and at the age of 29 he has an important decision to make over the next two transfer windows. Payet has to decide whether he's going to commit long term to West Ham or seek a move away. He lit up the Premier League and the European Championships last season and frankly at the moment he deserves to be playing in a better team that will build around him.
Where that team could be is more difficult to say, especially given his long-term contract puts West Ham in a position of power. However if Payet doesn't move soon then he's unlikely to get another shot at Champions League football, something that we all deserve to see.