London, United Kingdom | AFP | 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.
The 29-year-old found himself frozen out by United manager Jose Mourinho, but Wenger is more appreciative of his qualities and has installed him on the right of his three-man attacking midfield.
For the second match in a row, you voted @HenrikhMkh as your man of the match
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) March 12, 2018
Mkhitaryan has scored in his last two appearances for Arsenal, with his maiden goal coming in their crucial 2-0 win at AC Milan in the Europa League last 16 first leg.
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 domestic 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 Mourinho of his worth, he was still a valuable contributor to their Europa League success last season.
— Henrikh Mkhitaryan (@HenrikhMkh) March 11, 2018
He scored five times on United’s pat to the final, including a pair of vital strikes in each leg of the semi-final 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.