Arsene Wenger explains how he’ll get the best out of Henrikh Mkhitaryan

by Leo Nieboer

Arsene Wenger has revealed that he would prefer to use Henrikh Mkhitaryan as a wide player in an attempt to reignite his career after a dismal few months at Manchester United.

The Armenian, having scored in the Europa League final, begun the season brightly with five assists in his first three games.

But a rapid decline in form through October saw Mkhitatyan dropped from the starting XI, making just one Premier League start since the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea, and eventually moved on to Arsenal in a swap deal for Alexis Sanchez earlier this week.

And Wenger, reflecting on Mkhitaryan’s struggles at Old Trafford, noted that he would be deployed in a variety of positions at the Emirates.

“Yes of course, you worry about how much it as affected him,” he said. “But as well it’s a new chance for him. What you want in life is a new chance, he gets a new chance to show his quality and I’m sure he will take it. I might have to analyse with him how it went, and how we can help him.”

“Personally I see him first wide, but I’m thinking about as well that for him it’s a possibility to play through the middle, [as a No. 10] or even deeper.”

The death knell for Mkhitaryan’s Old Trafford career came at Stamford Bridge. That was his 11th start of the league campaign, but his form had long since deserted him. What followed against the champions was predictable and painful: a complete disappearance act, severing any link between midfield and attack.

More worrying, however, was his body language. He looked deprived of any confidence or self-belief. You could see he was in a rut and it was one from which he didn’t emerge.

Moving to Arsenal may help but it could also break him. Wenger’s smoother, more intricate passing game ought to appeal to the 29-year-old’s natural style, but the mood surrounding the club, their toxic fanbase, can occasionally become the dominating feature.

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