When Henrikh Mkhitaryan arrived from Manchester United in a swap deal for Alexis Sanchez, I was quietly optimistic that the Armenian international would be a good signing for the Gunners. The attacking midfielder made a promising start with a hat-trick of assists against Everton.
However, his form dipped slightly with the Gunners going through a rough patch. However, Mkhitaryan has now scored in consecutive games and produced strong performances against AC Milan and Watford on Sunday.
A good understanding with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Unsurprisingly considering that the two players played together at Dortmund, but Mkhitaryan has a good understanding with fellow January signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The pair combined for two of the Gunners goals against the Hornets.
They always look to be on the same wavelength and that can only help the Gunners win games in the next few seasons. Both players arrived with big reputations and both have endured mixed fortunes with the north London club since joining.
Mkhitaryan can thrive under Wenger
Mkhitaryan proved at Dortmund just how good a player he really is and how much of an impact his presence in a team can have. At Manchester United, he only showed flashes of his undoubted ability and flattered to deceive at times.
However, at United by Portuguese boss Jose Mourinho, who is not always great at managing creative, flair players managed him. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is a far more of a fan of the artisan football.
He likes to have players with silky skills in his team, so appreciates them more than the likes of Mourinho. Mkhitaryan may just thrive under Wenger for the rest of the season, as he is showing signs of discovering his top form for the Gunners.
The Europa League the priority for Arsenal
With Aubameyang ineligible to play in the Europa League, Mkhitaryan will have to play an even more crucial role for Arsenal in the competition. The Gunners are 2-0 up in their Europa League last 16 tie against AC Milan heading into Thursday’s second leg.
Wenger’s side are odds of 19/20 to also win the second leg and make it into the last eight of the competition. The Gunners will be hoping to go all the way and lift the trophy. Winning the Europa League would mean a place in next season’s Champions League.
With Champions League qualification unlikely from the league, the Europa League has now become the Gunners priority this season.
Has Henrikh Mkhitaryan made a good start to his Arsenal career?