Mkhitaryan makes his mark with Arsenal
HENRIKH MKHITARYAN has been at Arsenal for less than two months, but that hasn’t stopped the fiercely-driven star from ruffling a few feathers as he tries to lead the Gunners to Europa League glory.
Mkhitaryan moved to Arsenal as part of the deal that sent Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United in January and the Armenian has already established himself as a key figure in Arsene Wenger’s troubled side.
After netting again in Sunday’s 3-0 victory over Watford, Mkhitaryan has done his bit to ease the pressure on Wenger, who is fighting to save his job after another miserable season.
Qualifying for next season’s Champions League is essential to Wenger’s hopes of extending his 22-year reign and, with their domes- tic form so patchy this year, winning the Europa League is their only realistic way of achieving that goal.
With that in mind, Mkhitaryan’s presence at the Emirates Stadium might be seen as a good omen for Wenger.
Although Mkhitaryan struggled to convince Jose Mourinho of his worth, he was still a valuable contributor to their Europa League success last season.
He scored five times on United’s pat to the final, including a pair of vital strikes in each leg of the semifinal against Anderlecht.
Capping his memorable campaign in the competition, Mkhitaryan hit United’s second goal in their 2-0 win against Ajax as they lifted the trophy in Stockholm.
That refusal to be beaten down by Mourinho is a testament to Mkhitaryan’s competitive personality.
And it is that willingness to face potentially damaging situations that prompted him to issue a defiant challenge to Arsenal’s furious fans this week.
Though Arsenal reported that 59,131 tickets were sold for the Watford game, there were several thousand seats left empty as supporters stayed away in protest at Wenger’s struggles.
Recognising that internal strife will dent Arsenal’s bid to get back on track in the closing weeks of the season, Mkhitaryan called on supporters to show their true colours.
“Those who are coming to the stadium just when we are winning we have nothing to say. Just thanks to the fans who were supporting.” – AFP