Was Arsenal the problem in Henrikh Mkhitaryan‘s struggles?

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is one of the better players in Serie A this season, despite struggling to make an impact at the Emirates.

Having signed him after a similarly poor spell at Manchester United in 2018, Arsenal was hoping that he would return to the form that he showed at Borussia Dortmund earlier in his career.

However, he would suffer even poorer form at the Emirates and left them for AS Roma in 2019.

He has been reborn in the Italian capital, and after making his move to Roma permanent, he has been an inspired signing.

In 16 league games this season, the Armenian has scored 8 goals and provided 7 more assists for the Italians.

These numbers would have made a remarkable difference at Arsenal this season as the Gunners struggle with creativity and goals.

Mikel Arteta never gave Mkhitaryan the chance to prove himself in his system, perhaps he would have thrived.

As he continues to outperform other players in the Italian top flight, it looks very much like a mistake to let him go now.

Perhaps the tactic of Unai Emery was simply not good enough for him to deliver his current performances for us.

Tags Henrikh Mkhitaryan


  1. Another classic case of the Arsenal higher-ups kicking themselves in the dick…of course he struggled a bit at first, but the negative tactics and that fact he didn’t want to leave ManU certainly didn’t help from a PR standpoint…fact is he had a readymade connection with Auba, from their time in Dortmund, so the club shouldn’t have been so quick to discard him…just think we basically trading Sanchez for him, then ultimately let him go for nothing and he ONCE AGAIN has come good…welcome to the Emirates, a living, breathing sh** show

  2. After failing at both ManU and Arsenal, anyone with any intelligence would realise he wasn’t suited to the epl.
    But nice try anyway.

    1. Really? anyone with intelligence would realize that? for your information Einstein he’s had far more successful seasons, when playing regularly, than poor seasons…check the facts brainiac

    2. You are factually wrong.

      He was mediocre under Mourinho.
      He was then quite good under Wenger and then very bad under Emery.

      It depends on the manager not league.
      That’s why Eriksen is shit in Italy but was great in England.

      The problem was always that Mourinho and Emery played his as a winger which is not his best suit.

  3. Decision making at Arsenal have been very mediocre for a good while, from selling garnabry without inserting buy back Claus to buying Pepe instead zaha, offering ozil silly wages to acquiring willian from Chelsea, the list is endless! But they call themselves top football administrators, I will perform better than those overpaid lots, I bet!

    1. The Mkhitayan situation is similar to the Willian situation.

      But weren’t about more than 90% of the Arsenal fanbase calling for Mkhitaryan to be shipped out on a consistent basis? I thought he would cole good when we exchanged with Man United but he failed to put up expected consistent performances.
      Just go back and read comments and articles in this exact site calling for Mkhi to be shipped. And the usual suspects had as always started blaming him for why their cult hero was being banished from the team etc. But but he is taking up our prince’s postion in the team. Lol

      Seriously we can all start this rewriting of history at the moment but the consensus on every Arsenal fans forum was for Mkhi, Xhaka, Mustafi, Iwobi, Giroud, etc to be shipped. Always blamed for why we were crap and an average has been club blah blah.

      So I don’t know. The club gave into the fans sentiment.
      The fans wanted Mkhi to be shipped. So he was shipped.
      The fans wanted Ozil to be given whatever wages he was holding for. So the club the club did.
      The fans wanted for Iwobi to be shipped, he got shipped.
      Fans wanted for Mustafi to be shipped or dropped. Couldn’t ship him but has been constantly dropped.
      Fabs wanted Giroud to be shipped. He got shipped.
      Fans Wanted Sokratis shipped or dropped. He was dropped.
      Fans Wanted Kolasinac shipped. He is now gone.
      Fans Wanted Xhaka gone for so long. He is still here.
      Fans wanted Martinez to be kept instead of Leno. Martinez was sold.
      Fans were a bit nonchalant when Gnabry was sold. Somewhat like The Saliba situation.

      What am I saying? Out of all the 100’s of academy and non academy players we have let go in the last 10 years, what percentage has gone on to become successful as opposed to the percentage that has gone into irrelevance?

      Hindsight is amazing as it depends on counting the 0.1% Hits but ignoring the 99.999% Misses.

      1. I don’t disagree with what your saying except that it was the fans that pushed Mhiki out. He wanted to leave and you could see it in his matches. Never looked remotely happy to be there.
        I never wanted Gnabry to leave especially after the Swansea (?) game where he scored the winner – expected him to be a full squad member after that but then injuries and a bad loan ruined his time here. Didn’t expect him to go on to be quite so good as he is though!
        Mavrapanos to me looks like a similar case – excellent debut then injury problems and a couple of loans but I really think there’s something special in that guy. Reminds me of Sol a bit. What do you think?

        1. I actually think that Mavropanos and Saliba could be a great pairing. Both giants and both fast defenders.

      2. GOONSTER, Great post, apart from the staggering and unfortunate wrong percentage in your final sentence. That sentence is the only part where truth was missing.

        In reality, there will always be more sensible sales than wrong ones but the buys have been far more problematic, percentage wise, in the last decade. Our buys which were (or are) flops ratio is far too high . Abnormally so too! That has to change right now. No more XHAKAS, ELNENYS,KOLASINAC, MUSTAFIS, WILLIANS, PEPES, ETC!

    2. Yes indeed ….. senior management at Arsenal have a lot to answer for. This includes allowing Wenger to carve out Dictator status and keeping him there 5 years too long. Allowing top players to run down their contracts …….. etc etc.

  4. He was average and Man Unt and Afc perhaps he just wasnt comfortable with the premier league and England he did well in Germany and is now doing well in Italy.

    1. Exactly. And the consensus amongst the Arsenal fanbae was for Mkhi to be gotten rid of. The majority were calling for the club to get rid of him.
      So what’s all this “Blame the Club”?

      1. @Goonster. You are a loyal fan. AFC fans always accuse the management.
        Meanwhile we were the ones calling for him to be sold.

        Yet, we still point our fingers at them.

  5. What about United then? They must have thought they’d really pulled one over on us when they swapped him for Sanchez. Turned out both teams exchanged a dud for a dud. Get real have you ever seen this guy have a good game for us So easily dispossessed, never around when needed. Truth is that this is no longer the Serial A of Maradona and the great Milan sides. Look at the playing rosters for even the top five teams. It’s a pensioners league. Too many places taken by old men no longer wanted by the big European clubs and young Italian kids kept on the bench unable to break into the top teams. Roma are a typical example if this.. If anything it says a lot about the quality of the Italian coaching system that they can take the dregs and make something competive.

    1. Just like styles make good fights, tactics are a crucial element to individual player performances…we all knew that Sanchez didn’t make sense with Jose, just like we worried how long it was going to take Miki to adjust to North London without adequate playing time in Manchester; not to mention, he had to be convinced to make the trip south…likewise he had some bad luck as he scored some goals and provided some helpers in games we ultimately lost, then he had a nagging injury and the controversy surrounding the Europa final…tough run but he’s a talent box-to-box or second striker who can provide top class service and secondary scoring…do those sound like things we’ve been craving for since his departure, not to mention we received ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for him

  6. He couldn’t play in his best position since Ozil was there and now he’s been thriving as CAM at Roma. He tried hard, but he wasn’t fast enough nor was he tricky enough to be a winger

    1. @ gotanidea . Thank you , Miki and Iwobi where all played out of position to accommodate Ozil even with that they still created better numbers that season at least ,
      WE have been plagued with unbalance in this team ,

  7. Anyone with a working brain would know how much we missed him in the Europa league final …Then u add that to the fact that the season after that,Emery went all negative..playing very defensive football which affected most of our creative if not all our creative players.then Arteta started by playing total Negative football.only in the last 3 games has he started trying not to be too defensive .Arteta never gave him a chance cos he didn’t care much about creative players,he was too interested I defenders…..He would have made a lot of difference to this our team if he had been given a chance

  8. Lol,,,,fans can be funny a lot. So any player who leaves the club and thrives elsewhere is always the club’s fault? What about those who left their clubs and thrives at Arsenal? Bergkamp, Henry? So you expect every player that leaves the club to become useless right? If so,have you praised the club for those who have left and became irrelevant?

  9. Another good example how the EPL seems quite different to other leagues, He did not do well at both Manchester and Arsenal.
    Arsenal scouts and recruiting team should start considering this important stat b4 signing players from other league’s.

    1. He looked like an absolute world beater at both Dortmund and Shakhtar. I think he was just unlucky joining Utd and then Arsenal at the times he did – had he gone to a different club or joined at a different time I’ve no doubt he’d have done well.

  10. I don’t think Arteta had the chance to give Mhiki a chance. He’d already decided he hates playing for Arsenal before MA joined – am I remembering this right?
    Don’t think he was so awful when he played for us. Inconsistent but was a decent goal threat, just looked like he was seriously lacking confidence. Wouldn’t have been any worse than Willian (although that’s with the benefit of hindsight).

  11. Personally I never see any point in “what if” articles, as I live in the world as it is and not in a dream world of my imagination. I recommend that to all, as it saves time and worry over matters that will not change and are already decided.

    I will say that selling him was inevitable and long overdue.

    I also remind folk how very different our Prem is in intensity and necessary player desire, to all other Euro leagues. Only the toughest, physically AND mentally reach the top in the Prem.

  12. Miki was a very good playmaker but in peoples eyes he replaced Sanchez, who worked like a demon and covered for Ozils deficienies (probably most of the team as well) and came to us at the wrong time. The team was weak and couldn’t cope with Ozil and miki in the same team with the other easy goers. Miki was actually a hard worker and a very good tactically but he was no street fighter. In hindsight maybe Arteta let him go far too easily and far too cheap because he would better suit the team now than then. There are far more workers or a worker mentality than there was under last dregs wenger and Emery now and a more structured team ethic that miki could have flourished under.

    1. Reggie, you actually saw Mkhi as a hard worker then? Funny, as I always saw him as easily our laziest , apart from Ozil of course.
      I have constantly banged on about laziness being poison in a team sport. IMO, when players take up pro level sport, in exchange for massive wages, they contract to give their BEST efforts at all times. When they do not, then we fans quite rightly call them out for not working.

      Personally, I would love to see actual long term laziness, like with OZIL, taken to court for breach of contract by the clubs , when they cannot be sold but have to pay huge money for nothing in return.
      IMO, a top prosecuting barrister could easily prove laziness with the aid of many videos, which would change the situation completely. When THAT is done, there will beno more lazy players like OZIL HOLDING CLUBS AND US FANS TO RANSOM.

      I will shortly be writing an article on this very subject and would love your comments, Reggie.

      1. No i didn’t see miki as lazy, far from it. He often worked back, got into shape and backed up his fullback but remember he was an attacking player first and foremost. He probably lacked power and physicality but i never saw him as lazy.

  13. Players have to adjust their game to fit the demands of the league, leagues don’t adjust to players.

    PL is a physical, fast, and cruel league if you aren’t a complete player. No room for passengers who only show up when their team is attacking.

    IF he played as a CAM, he still would have been weak defensively, got pushed off the ball far too often,. He was a disappointment for the club.

    Unfortunately he was replacing Sanchez and that was a losing battle from the start. He was never going to replace the goals & assists of Sanchez, and playing in that shadow eventually turned toxic.

    Poor poor decision by the club, and player eagerly accepted the big wages he ultimately proved unworthy of.

    1. Durand, I would love to know your thoughts, as man of intellect, on my post above yours please. I surely cannot be alone in thinking as I DO. All major social and financial football cases have first been tested in court. Our own George Eastham when leaving Newcastle beat them in court back in1961(I think it was). Do please let me know even if you think I am being silly.

      1. Jon I honestly appreciate your kind remarks, and as an educator at various levels of study (including economics) I will do my best to apply my “intellect” that you mention.

        Firstly, although Football is a sport, it does not exempt them from contractual issues that arise from business management. I’m not familiar with the British legal system, but I’m sure there are common elements to the American legal system regarding legally tendered contracts.

        If “riders” were inserted regarding performance based issues, then breach of contract is plausible. How these are articulated or defined would be agreed by the club and player.

        Considering this, I would be surprised if there is not something inserted to protect the club’s interests, and something also requested by the player to safeguard their interests.

        When dealing with high and lengthy terms of investment, it’s only proper business to protect and maximize the investment, on both ends.

        I suspect Ozil’s omission in part coincides with a partial reduction of his salary. In turn, we see Ozil’s insistence to remain and accrue the loyalty bonus; perhaps he sees this as money owed by being omitted.

        I apologize for the lengthy reply, but your question deserves a proper response; much more than an emotional retort.

        In essence, a contract is a contract regardless of context. Club would have been foolish not to insert performance based metrics based on his massive wages.

        I feel that with 6 months left, too much water under the bridge at this point, and the legal proceedings I fear would outlast his contractual time. In addition, the negativity generated by the proceedings would affect the club far more than the player; who is loved in Turkey and by millions of supporters worldwide.

        I hope this was worth your time to read Jon, and if you do write an article I will surely respond; albeit with a more researched and informed response based on facts rather than assumptions.

        1. Durand so very grateful for your valuable contribution and for its thoroughness, despite your humble claims of too much length. A full reply is exactly what i was hoping for and received. THANK YOU AND BLESS YOU.
          With all that is happening in the world economy and in our sport it cannot be too far away, in my estimation, before clubs band together under the authority of FIFA, UEFA or whatever, to prevent another farce like this Ozil saga with him holding a gun to our head.
          Some on here like my chum KEN , a decent and wise man, seems to dismiss the idea that a player has equal responsibilities to the club (under the contract) as it does to him. To be fair to KEN, he does not accept that Ozil is lazy, so we are at loggerheads over that question.

          I can NEVER accept that situation continuing over and over and will be writing an article in the coming days to that effect. I believe that sooner or later this one sidedness in contracts will be altered , in court, if need be. But certainly by regulation, as players and agents are holding clubs and we fans to ransom and that is injustice, morally and probably legally too, soon, if not already.

          1. I too feel changes are coming. Whether it’s players fulfilling contracts and leaving on frees, or regulations put in place regarding agents; their meddling and vast fee amounts.

            Contracts in the future will be more performance based on part of clubs, and more incentive based from both parties.

            The vast wages being offered will drop to the financial impacts of the crisis, and clubs are learning money does not grow on trees.

            Loss of gate receipts has crippled many clubs, and even mighty Barca is feeling the sting. Until they (clubs) mutually put a salary cap, it will be difficult to reverse the trend of player enrichment.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs