Wenger Hints At Mkhitaryan Start Against Swansea

Speaking at his press conference on Friday morning, Arsene Wenger revealed that Mkhitaryan could make his Arsenal debut on Tuesday night against Swansea. The Armenian playmaker has been training all week with his new teammates, and it appears he is settling in well. Fans are starting to get excited about the thought of him and Ozil on the same pitch, but how do Arsenal line up to accommodate both of them?

First, Arsenal fans need to manage their expectations. Wenger has already said that Mkhitaryan’s confidence is a concern, and Jose Mourinho has stated that he had a difficult time at United, however he feels he will do much better at Arseanl due to the playing style. With this in mind, he will need to prove himself over the next few days if he is to command a start.

Wenger appears to have (finally) ended his pursuit of three at the back, and returned to a 4-3-3 / 4-2-3-1. This has coincided with a 4-1 win against Crystal Palace and a 2-1 win against Chelsea. It’s clear this suits Arsenal much better, with the players understanding the system.

This would also benefit the pairing of Ozil of Mkhi, as they would have much more room to create. Some have argued that they are too similar in style, but look at Keven de Bruyne and David Silva – top class creative players thrive when played together.

With Cech expected to resume his position between the sticks, Arsenal can expect a back four of Monreal, Koscielny, Mustafi and Bellerin – a full strength backline, and one that is very hard to break down when everyone is firing. Monreal also offers a lot going forward, and his return should benefit Lacazette, provided he keeps making runs to the penalty spot / near post.

In midfield, Wilshere and Xhaka have built an excellent understanding in recent weeks, and Xhaka’s form is improving as a result. Both players are very technical, and with Ozil and Mkhitaryan in front of them, going forward will be much easier. Ramsey is back to full fitness, but if would be rash of Wenger to split up a pairing that are in such good form, so Ramsey is likely to start from the bench.

In Arsenal’s last two games, Mohammad Elneny has played slightly behind Wilshere and Xhaka, and he’s excelled. The team has looked much better defensively, even if he did go missing for Chelsea’s goal on Wednesday, but it is possible Wenger could use this option again – dropping the Egyptian would be harsh.

To complete Arsenal’s line up, the mouth-watering combination of Ozil, Lacazette and Mkhitaryan should be unleashed. Wenger needs to push Lacazette to focus his efforts in and around the box, and let Ozil and Mkhi do the creating. If he does this, the pair will provide him with service, and his confidence will improve instantly.


Words by Adam Keys -  A freelance football journalist who enjoys away days more than Christmas, and has endless Arsenal related opinions and a response for anything you throw at him. As a Journalism graduate, and an experienced football and music writer, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge to the team at thestepanovs.com.