June 12, 2021

‘With Wenger, it was freedom’ and ‘then there was Emery’ – Mkhitaryan opens up on Arsenal struggles

‘With Wenger, it was freedom’ and ‘then there was Emery’ – Mkhitaryan opens up on Arsenal struggles

Mkhi details Emery struggles

Henrikh Mkhitaryan was a player who captured the attention of many football lovers during his time with Borussia Dortmund.

However, after moving to Manchester United, the Armenian international struggled to regain the composure and level of output which had seen him blitz the Bundesliga.

A move to Arsenal resulted in a brief honeymoon period, but when Arsene Wenger left, and Unai Emery came in, Mkhitaryan’s Gunners career was destined to fizzle out. He has now explained why.

“With Wenger, it was freedom, the freedom to move, to play with the ball. He always wanted to play with the ball. He never wanted to defend because he was always saying if we score more goals than the opponent we’re going to win the game. It was a pleasing time. Unfortunately, after six months he was sacked,” he said.

‘With Wenger, it was freedom’ and ‘then there was Emery’ – Mkhitaryan opens up on Arsenal struggles

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 02: Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on December 02, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The Armenian then spoke about his time under the Frenchman’s successor, Unai Emery.

Known for being more industrious and tactical in his approach, unsurprisingly, the culture shock under the Spaniard was not a positive one for Mkhitaryan.

“Then there was Emery,” the midfielder explained. “So a different approach to football, a different philosophy. It was quite hard for me because I wasn’t playing a lot of the time.

“Most of the time I was sitting on the bench and I never like sitting on the bench because throughout my career I always wanted to play and win something. Emery saw football differently and was relying on other players.”

He will now face former club Manchester United on Thursday night, and should his new side, Roma, overcome the tournament favourites, Mkhitaryan would set up a final clash with either Arsenal or former coach Emery, of Villarreal. Talk about narrative.

Solskjaer clarifies Roma comments

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer risked the wrath of Roma fans when he admitted that he had not considered watching them once this season, ahead of the upcoming Europa League semi-final showdown with the Italian side.

“I don’t know them and I haven’t seen them play,” the Norwegian said when asked about the Rome-based club.

‘With Wenger, it was freedom’ and ‘then there was Emery’ – Mkhitaryan opens up on Arsenal struggles

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts during the English Premier League football match between Burnley and Manchester United at Turf Moor in Burnley, north west England on January 12, 2021. (Photo by Clive Brunskill / POOL / AFP)

He has since spoken ahead of Thursday’s game to clarify his comments.

“That was straight after the game and with all the games we’ve had I was just relieved we’d gone through. I’d watched them but hadn’t analysed and hadn’t seen them in depth to give them enough respect, probably. It’s a fantastic club with a great history,” Solskjaer explained.

“I’ve actually got two prized possessions back home [from when he played]: a Totti shirt and a De Rossi shirt that I’ve swapped with them and they’re actually signed, so I know about the history, I know about the quality.”

United will host Roma, before heading to the Italian capital to try to reach another Europa League final.

Roma have struggled this season, and sit way off the Champions League-chasing pack in Serie A, on 55 points. Manchester United, on the other hand, have been the closest competitors to rivals Man City in the Premier League, but still sit 10 points off the top.

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This article was edited by
Conor Laird.

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3 Leicester City FC 33 22 62
4 Chelsea FC 33 20 58
5 West Ham United FC 33 10 55
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7 Tottenham Hotspur FC 33 18 53
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10 Arsenal FC 33 7 46
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Vardy, Jamie Leicester City FC 13
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