It’s been official for a while now that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be spending the remainder of his Arsenal contract at Roma, this spells the end of his Arsenal tenure and potentially his career in England. At Arsenal and Manchester United, Mkhitaryan s’ career never really hit the heights of his prolific final season at Dortmund and was extremely inconsistent.
With his chapter in the Premier League closed for now, thought I would take a look at some of Mkhitaryan’s best and worst moments during his time in red and white, to try and assess where it all went wrong for him in his career at Manchester United and Arsenal.
Highs: Scoring a crucial goal in the 2017 Europa League final versus Ajax. This was Mkhitaryan’s finest moment in a Manchester United shirt, made better still by him becoming the first Armenian to win a major European trophy. No doubt a standout moment for Mkhitaryan in his footballing career.
A combination of a goal in a European final and winning a European trophy are obviously great moments for any footballing player.
Who could forget Mkhitaryan’s magnificent Scorpion kick goal against Sunderland? That was one of Mkhitaryan’s best contributions in a Manchester United shirt and his most memorable one in the English Premier League for sure.
Lows: Being used as a makeweight in a deal for Alexis Sanchez has to be up there in terms of lows, being declared unwanted at Manchester United and subsequently being thrown away for a shiny new toy really plummeted his confidence at Arsenal as well.
A particularly bad run of form, most notably in a Premier League match against Tottenham spelled the end of his time with the Red Devils. He shortly lost his place in the team and was subsequently ushered towards the exit door soon after.
Highs: Scoring a goal against his old side, at Old Trafford perhaps proved a point to Jose Mourinho and Manchester United faithfuls. You would imagine it is a great personal highlight for Mkhitaryan whilst at Arsenal.
Let’s not forget Mkhitaryan’s Arsenal debut either, where he made three assists in a 5-1 win over Everton.
Other highs include a mixed performance against Chelsea, where Mkhitaryan picked up a goal and assist but also had a frustratingly inconsistent night full of ups and downs (something which would plague him in an Arsenal shirt), a 3-2 loss against Southampton where he scored a brace and an away goal against AC Milan in the Europa League also stands out during his time at the Emirates.
Lows: While he did not play, one of, if not the biggest low for Mkhitaryan at Arsenal would be missing out on the 2019 Europa League final. Not travelling to a European final in Baku due to controversial geo-political and safety issues must have hurt.
Earlier in the 2019/20 season, Mkhitaryan had a terrible away performance against Newcastle United and suffered a lot of subsequent criticism from fans and pundits alike. This all but ended his career at Arsenal, as Mkhitaryan was shortly moved onto Roma for the 19/20 season.
Conclusions: Mkhitaryan is a good player whose career sadly didn’t work out in the Premier League, nevertheless in the previous campaign he was decent enough for Arsenal with 13 goal contributions and this season he has so far raked in 15 goal contributions as well for the Italian club.
As an offensive player it is fair to say he was restricted by two defensive minded coaches in the form of Jose Mourinho and Unai Emery. In the words of Mkhitaryan’s national team manager Artur Petrosyan., after the Armenian’s transfer to Arsenal.
”It is my impression that I think Henrikh had a problem with the coach [Mourinho], and, at Arsenal, it will be another thing and not the same situation. There will not be so much pressure on him defensively.”
Mkhitaryan himself about what went wrong when asked about former manager Unai Emery,
”He paid more attention to tactics, so my role changed,’’ Mhkitaryan stated, ’’I was starting as a winger, but had to build play with the defensive midfielder. “It’s why I couldn’t contribute as many goals or assists”.
Perhaps Mkhitaryan’s managers were an existing factor in his underwhelming stints at Arsenal and Manchester United, some of the blame can of course be shifted to the player, the under-performing clubs and even the league possibly not suiting him as well as we would have hoped it to.
In a slower league like the Serie A, Mkhitaryan is performing noticeably better. Recent goals against Napoli and Inter Milan can attest to that, moreover his overall chemistry in the Roma team is burgeoning to his managers delight which is why both the club and the player seemed so adamant on an extension to the existing loan. Hopefully this can truly enable Mkhitaryan’s explosiveness and artistic capabilities to flourish on the field.
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