Unai Emery’s decision to leave Mesut Ozil on the bench for Arsenal’s 2-1 win against Bournemouth meant an opportunity for Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
The Armenian hasn’t been a regular in the starting line-up this season - it was the seventh Premier League match he’s started - but Emery thought Bournemouth would present too much of a physical challenge for Ozil.
“We thought how we can do better in the match, a very demanding match with physicality and intensity,” Emery told The Guardian after the match.
Yet Mkhitaryan failed to make an impact and Arsenal fans were quick to criticise him on social media.
In their player ratings, football.london gave Mkhitaryan a three out of 10 rating - the worst for any Arsenal player - writing: “Got himself on the ball in some good positions but his end product was frustratingly poor.
“Wasted some excellent opportunities to play in a teammate and missed a golden chance to make it 3-1. Poor.”
Meanwhile, the Mirror said he “drifted in and out of the game.”
Man United fan tweets about Mkhitaryan
Arsenal signed Mkhitaryan in that trade with Manchester United in January, a deal that saw Alexis Sanchez go the other way.
Sanchez has seriously struggled at Old Trafford, scoring just four goals for the club.
But Man United fans haven’t failed to notice that Mkhitaryan has disappointed, too.
Man United supporter Jordan Clarke posted a damning tweet after Mkhitaryan’s performance against Bournemouth which shows that nobody has really won the swap deal.
“Sanchez arguably our worst signing ever given wages and expectations yet Mkhitaryan has somehow found a way to be worse,” he wrote.
Worse than Sanchez? That’s debatable. But Mkhitaryan hasn’t played at a level that Arsenal would have expected from him.
Alex Iwobi’s improvement has helped Arsenal greatly.
His development, added to the fact that Mkhitaryan turns 30 in January, has to leave fans wondering whether Mkhitaryan’s time in north London is heading for a premature ending.