Henrikh Mkhitaryan gives an insight into the difficulties playing under Unai Emery

Henrikh Mkhitaryan tries to explain away his poor performances – blames the manager.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan was hardly one of the most successful Arsenal players prior to his loan to Serie A side Roma.
In fact, he was probably one of the most criticised, certainly on this site and he has been speaking exclusively to Four Four Two magazine about his experiences playing under the Spaniard.

According to the 30-year-old is was unable to contribute more because he was played out of position.

Mkhitaryan told the magazine “He paid more attention to tactics, so my role changed.

“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.

“I like to play more freely and move wherever there’s space, but you have to do the job that the manager asks.”

It has to be said that Mkhitaryan comments do make sense to some degree, he was clearly played out of position and he has not been the only Arsenal player suffering from the manager’s tactics and formations.

But at the same time, he was not an Emery signing and therefore probably not the type of player he would have wanted.

It does feel like a bit of excuse-making if I am honest, even out of position the Armenian international should have done a better job.

It should also be noted that Mkhitaryan is only out on loan so, in theory, he could return to the Emirates. Criticising Emery like this is hardly the most constructive thing to do, is it?


  1. gotanidea says:

    Mkhitaryan and Ceballos should have played as no 10, but Ozil occupies that position. A technically gifted midfielder should be able to play in different positions, like Cazorla

    Mkhitaryan has played for three different managers in EPL and his forms show his decline. We also need to get rid of other senior Gunners that have played badly for Wenger and Emery, because they already have too many chances

    1. Eddie Hoyte says:

      Gotanidea just like Xavi, Iniesta, Modric, Kroos, Alcantara, Pastors,Lampard, Goretzka and so on could play on the wings right? Just because they were and are all technically gifted midfielders.
      Zidane, Enrique,Blanc, Guardiola, all must’ve been stupid to play with proper wingers when they had technically goof midfielders in the team.
      You mention Santi Cazorla, as tho many players are simily to him, as tho many technically gifted attackers could play any position as Lionel Messi does.
      There’s a reason certain players are superior to others in the game of football. All play in their best and natural positions while they can transit into other positions, others can’t do the same thing even though they’re gifted and technical also.
      Imagine what a disaster Beckham would’ve been if he was asked to play as A DM, or Winger just because he was insanely gifted technically.
      Imagine what could’ve been if Xavi was constantly asked to play on the wings.
      I bet you and I would’ve seen him as one of the best ever midfielders to grace the pitch right?

      1. gotanidea says:

        From the list of players you mentioned, only Xavi, Iniesta, Modric, Alcantara and Pastore have exceptional ball control, vision and technique

        Those players have played well in at least two positions, no 10 and deep-lying playmaker

  2. Eddie Hoyte says:

    “It does feel like a bit of excuse-making if I am honest, even out of position the Armenian international should have done a better job.”

    AdMartin I disagree clearly,
    How many of our players are doing better jobs being played out of position?
    Torreira being asked to be a defensive attacking midfielder?
    Xhaka being asked to be ball winning midfielder?

    Mhki got his comments spot on!
    Emery is always tinkering too much, focuses too much on tactics while ignoring the individual strength each player has.
    I’m not saying Mhki was doing a fantastic job before going out on loan but we all know the whole team is and keeps struggling Emery’s tactics and instructions.
    Which is why the earlier he leaves, the better our chances of fighting for the top four.

    When Ozil reportedly told Emery “you’re not a coach” in the Europa league last season, lots of people also added that to the list of reasons to criticize him and bash him.
    We’re not even halfway thru this season and every body including ex players keeps calling for Emery’s head and almost every fan will agree Emery ain’t no football coach. At least not up to Arsenal’s calibre.
    I’m with Mhki on this one

    1. David Braithwaite says:

      I disagree. My view is that Emery is a good coach.
      You do not win what he has without some understanding of football.
      I will allow that there are communication difficulties and he has yet to get the best out of this squad. It is also possible that he is not the best fit for Arsenal.
      However, the situation is not helped by the persistent negativity and unrealistic expectations of fans.
      I also do not believe this is a great squad and I suspect that any manager would struggle to get this team into the top four.
      Regarding Mhiki I’m afraid I also have to agree with those that felt he was overrated and inconsistent.

      1. Gabie says:

        You are real insane, who’s a good Coach?? You think like like Unai who doesn’t have football brain . Arsenal are playing boring football no plan Game . Players are playing out of position, he’s scared when when he plays big clubs what kind of a coach is . Sheffield gave Liverpool tough times for that one goal I liked what their coach said . Unai Brainless coach said he’s scared to play Vs Liverpool that’s why he got humiliated. I hate seeing Unai coaching this club as he will never take us anywhere . The sooner he leaves the better

      2. DiDi says:

        Emery has only had moderate coaching Spanish teams only. He got boot out in France and Russia, and is taking Arsenal down now. Please mind the uniqueness of the Spanish football scene.

        And which Tier 1 Clubs in Europe really covet 3 Europa Leagues in a row – that they means that they do not pass the group stage in the Champions League for at least 2 years consecutively!

  3. MadHatter says:

    Seems to me that this is the difference between Wenger and Emery. Wenger was happy for players to roam the pitch as they felt the need, even if it led them out of position.
    Emery puts that freedom secondary to players being in the right place for the system – with how often our forwards roam and swap positions between themselves (Auba has been played central but not unknown to see him wide left or right at times) I wouldn’t say Emery doesn’t allow players the freedom to move around as long as someone else takes up that position in their absence.

    Regarding Mhiki – he goes on to say that at his age he wasn’t happy sitting on the bench, and whilst Emery and Raul both told him there was a place for him in the team – Roma wanted him more. I take that to mean they offered him more guaranteed playing time than we were 🤷‍♂️

  4. Ad says:

    As bad as Emery is. Lets remember what mkhitaryan also said last season

    “Fans have to accept i am not the same as i was at dortmund” basically accept my mediocrity

    He was the most overrated player in the world for the last 8 years. If he was so good why didnt bayern take him also? Because they knew he wasnt good enough.

    Wenger wanted martial when it came to negotiations with united over sanchez, gazidis wanting power at arsenal sided with mitinslat

    Wenger even in the last days wanted the best for arsenal. He didnt want mkhitaryan

  5. georgie b says:

    OT, Did anyone watch the thrilling Brazil v France u17 world cup match last night?

    1. Admin Martin says:

      Nope, pulled my eye balls out watching Turkey v Iceland, horrendous boring game

  6. Reggie says:

    Myki was a let down for utd and us, dont know why, maybe he just wasn’t suited to the physicality and speed of the prem. He was a bit light weight.

  7. Innit says:

    Mkhitarayan, Ozil, Xhaka, Mustafi were just as bad under Wenger as they were under Emery


    I do blame Emery for not keeping Mkhitarayan or not signing a top CAM. He’s still useful. He’s slightly better than Ozil. Just slightly.

  8. Restless says:

    Santi Cazorla still good enough to play and score for Spain but not good enough to play in an Arsenal midfield crying out for help.

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