There appeared to be a tacit assumption that Arsenal would be getting the Henrikh Mkhitaryan who bagged 23 goals and 32 assists during his final season at Borussia Dortmund when they swapped him with Manchester United for Alexis Sanchez, but that would be to ignore what was a hellish 18 months for the Armenian attacker at Old Trafford under Jose Mourinho.
And in the space of two starts, the Gunners have already seen the best and worst of the 29-year-old; the kind of performance against Everton that saw him arrive in the Premier League with a preceding reputation in summer 2016, followed by an apathetic and aimless display against Tottenham that only revived the concerns and criticisms thrown towards him in a United shirt.
Indeed, many of Mkhitaryan’s performances for the Red Devils created questions over his attitude, his desire and his actual ability, and they re-arose on Saturday as Arsenal were humbled by Tottenham Hotspur, the 1-0 defeat in truth flattering them in terms of performance.
In the space of 64 minutes, before being hooked off by Arsene Wenger, Mkhitaryan failed to register a single shot, created chance or successful dribble, while being dispossessed twice and suffering two unsuccessful touches. In fact, Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris had more touches than the 70-cap international, whose only real contributions were one successful cross, one tackle and one interception.
Arsenal fans believing the club found a shrewd solution to the Sanchez situation in swapping their wantaway forward for Mkhitaryan – who Transfermarkt value at £31.5million – have been quickly been brought back down to earth. United supporters, meanwhile, will be delighted their club has foisted arguably Mourinho’s biggest headache onto one of their Big Six rivals.
So, Arsenal fans, was it a mistake to sign Mkhitaryan? Let us know by voting below…