Mkhitaryan boost as midfielder trains ahead of Atletico Madrid clash

23

Arsenal travel to Spain later today to prepare for their Europa League semi-final second leg against Atletico Madrid, apparently boosted by the availability of Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

The Armenian international made his comeback from a knee ligament injury on Sunday, playing 75 minutes of the 2-1 defeat to his former club Manchester United.

However, after the game Arsene Wenger cast some doubt on his participation this week when he revealed the 29 year old had picked up a knock on the same knee that had sidelined him in early March.

The good news is that he is back in full training which should mean he’s available tomorrow night.

It remains to be seen if he’ll play from the start, and if he does who might drop out. Jack Wilshere seems the most obvious candidate from the team which started the first leg, but it all depends how Wenger wants to approach the game.

If he’s inclined to try and keep it defensively solid for a while, he might keep Mkhitaryan on the bench for later on when we might need to change the dynamic of the game and find a goal.

We’re expecting a full team news update later, so stay tuned here for that.

23
Leave a Reply

avatar
newest oldest most voted
Lacaneny
Lacaneny

Cech
Bell
Kosc
Must
Mon
Eln
Xhak
Rams
Oz
Mik
Laca

Antonio
Antonio

Swap Elneny for Welbz – Elneny is out injured

Jean Ralphio
Jean Ralphio
Marty
Marty

plus two unexpected goals from sub. Welbz…and the result 2:2, that we all welcome with open arms 🙂

SantiSandler
SantiSandler

Elneny is still out, that picture he posted the other day was just on a bike

goongot
goongot

i think welbeck will be dropped instead of wilshere.

Fatgooner
Fatgooner

Mkhitaryan should start. It’s a no-brainer.

And there should be no “let’s take it easy early on”: we should go at them right from the start. Let’s be honest: we’ll probably need to score at least two goals to get through, we’re not good enough defensively to keep a clean sheet against Athletico. But, as we showed last week, we can make plenty of chances against them. If we can finish better then we can do this.

I’ve got a good feeling about this. It would be fitting if Wenger’s last Arsenal game was in France against a French team.

VAgooner
VAgooner

that was…almost positive. are you feeling alright?

Sandè Class
Sandè Class

😀 😀 😀
2-1 (ATLEAST) to us mofu Gunners! Booya!

Excuse me for being hyper but this is the most pumped I’ve been as a bleddy football fan since our very own UCL final run more than a decade back. Oh and that was also (coincidence or…?) also my first full season as a Gooner!

Pedant
Pedant

You blow my mind, Mkhit…

(for any Blondie fans)

Red fred
Red fred

Blonde????

David Hillier's luggage
David Hillier's luggage

Toni Basil may well be a Blondie fan…

Pedant
Pedant

Better memory than me.

Pedant
Pedant
The Director
The Director

Glad to read he is in training. I think we need him from the start. He seems to be one of the few players that has the urge (and the ability) to shoot from distance. Considering we need to score some goals, the team could really use his treat to make our play less predictable.

Bendtnerschristmastree
Bendtnerschristmastree

It’s either Mkhi, Wilshere or Iwobi. I say start him. The other 10 players are set (except for cech/ospina maybe).

Jack
Jack

Things have gone so wrong this year for Arsenal to the extent that I have a good feeling about this game. Definitely the most buzzing feeling I’ve had before a game this season.

Terry Henry
Terry Henry

Ha I had that feeling last week also.. I’m feeling a lot more nervous this week!

Goonerink
Goonerink

He should start, with elneny injured Jack and Amn should be on bench for central cover, with iwobi the wide sub.

Hantal
Hantal

He’ll be useful to stretch their defence for sure, but I wonder if they’ll target his knee with a few knocks and take him out of the game

Monkey knees
Monkey knees

Cech
Bae-lerin
Koscielny
Holding
Monreal
Xhaka
Ramsey
Ozil
Welbz
Micky
Lacazette

Santori
Santori

………………………..Laca……………………………..
Welbeck………..Ozil……….Ramsey……………Mhki
……………………….Granit……………………………
Monreal……..Koscielny…..Mustafi………….Bellerin
……………………….Ospina…………………………..

I think Welbeck genuinely gives them problems…IF he makes powerful diagonal runs.

Mhki and Ramsey have to be mindful if Greizzman should deploy on our right and when Bellerin surges forward.

Koscielny/Mustafi for me. Still a lot of people with foggy heads prefer to drop Mustafi when Koscielny was the one who made the mistake. Inexplicable.

Don’t be fooled by Mavropanos over a second gear United side. The experience at the back will be key but BOTH Cbacks have to be on top of their game. If in doubt, clear.

Ospina and Cech has advantage and disadvantage. Cech is better commanding the box but Ospina actually has the quicker reactions. Against height, I’d say Cech. Against quick players nipping in, Ospina.

They will be patient as they have the away goal advantage, likely they will draw us in and hit on the counter again.

My issue with our defending is we will make mistakes when under duress.

BUT the flip side of it is we have to be far more efficient in front of goal and we need to transition quicker and with more directness.

Granit plays a KEY role in being able to release us quickly and switch point of attacks with his accurate long range distribution. Whether we fully take advantage of this is another thing.

Part of it is due to the type of players we have. We lack a genuine wide player with pace and skill to take on and beat one or two opponents on his own.

When some of our players find their path ahead blocked and passing channels closed (or our off ball movement does not offer a good pass), they tend to wait and play the ball back or we have to be reliant on the fullbacks to come up.

Mhkitaryan tends to be a bit more direct so hopefully he can bring something with Ozil but Welbeck and Ramsey joining in from diagonals or pushing into the six yard area may also make a difference. They have to make intelligent runs to get themselves available and make the pass easier.

If we can transition quicker, we can catch Athletico before they get into defensive shape.

Of course the final thing is we need to score so we need to hit them like we mean it. A bit of conviction will go a long way (even if it deflects into the goal). Hopefully Lacazette will be sharp for us.

Its all to play for so we need to go in positive but not do anything silly at the back. We kept them at bay very well first 15 minutes even before their sending off so there’s good positives to take from the pressure we were able to assert from midfield.

Santori
Santori

Not sure if Costa is available for them. We will have to be very careful if he is.

I actually feel we may be better served with a 3 at the back if we should nick a goal early. An extra Cback (yes, Mavropanos or Chambers) to help keep an eye on Costa and/or Greizzman.

It will allow our fullbacks better opportunity to push forward and help catch them on the break.

BUT I think Wenger may opt for something similar to first leg to swamp them in midfield first.

It’ll be an intriguing battle to say the least.

We will probably require some injection of energy second half around 60th minute if we should try an maintain the high energy levels of the first game.

So Jack and possibly Iwobi may be useful to freshen us up and keep the pressure/closing down.