After making an exceptionally bright start to his Arsenal career by assisting three goals in his home debut, a 5-1 win over Everton last season, Mkhitaryan began to struggle, failing to make much of an impression during Arsene Wenger’s final few months at the club.
He has flitted in and out of the starting XI since the arrival of Emery — starting just nine of his 13 Premier League appearances prior to a foot injury in December — but has hit in some form in recent weeks and was among Arsenal’s best players in last week’s win over Bournemouth and draw with Tottenham.
Mkhitaryan was kept busy on Saturday, dropping deep to assist the defence as Spurs pushed for an equaliser, with Emery afterwards singling the midfielder out for praise.
“He he had a big performance in both boxes, defensively and offensively,” Emery said after the draw, which keeps Arsenal four points behind their north London rivals.
“He has the quality to help us in our style to play. For example, usually he can’t play 90 minutes while being consistent with his work. And another player maybe cannot do that either, at such intensity.
“But against Tottenham for example we changed some players after Wednesday, we changed also some players in the match to get fresh players, fresh energy, and I think it’s good combination and was important to help us, not today to win but to get close to doing that.”
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