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Wenger salute for single-minded Henrikh Mkhitaryan as Arsenal eye bright future

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also starred alongside hat-trick hero Aaron Ramsey.

Arsene Wenger was delighted to finally see Henrikh Mkhitaryan in an Arsenal shirt as the Armenia international lit up the Emirates Stadium.

Mkhitaryan set up three goals as he arguably even outshone hat-trick hero Aaron Ramsey with the Gunners running riot against Everton with a 5-1 victory.

The former Manchester United man, who joined in January in a swap deal for Alexis Sanchez, set up Ramsey in the opening six minutes before teeing up debutant Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and later laying on a pass for Ramsey to sweep home for his treble.

Laurent Koscielny also scored in Saturday’s emphatic response from Wenger’s side following their shock defeat at Swansea four days earlier.

Ramsey, Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil and Mkhitaryan all looked sharp and Wenger savoured the all-round display of his new-look attack.

He said: “When you have new players it gives always a little positive swing, and it wakes everybody up as well, because there’s suddenly competition so they have to live with that as well.

Mkhitaryan impressed on his full debut for Arsenal.

“Overall, I think as well we have a game based on team spirit so that kind of acceptance is very important and when they show on a football field that they accept our game, they are even easier to integrate into the team.

“I’ve been such a long time in football, but one part as well is just purely a football lover. Your main target is just to get the players to enjoy the game they play, to share it with the fans, so when you have that positive experience it’s great for you.

“Yes, pure enjoyment, I love that the team plays, and my regret is that it doesn’t last for 90 minutes unfortunately.”

Mkhitaryan was singled out for praise by Wenger, who finally landed the man he attempted to sign from Borussia Dortmund before he opted to join United.

“I met Mkhitaryan before, before he came here, because I always liked his game but he’s a player completely focused on football, dedicated totally to the game,” Wenger said.

“He comes from a country where you need special character to become a great football player, so you have to really to love it, and that’s why he looks happy to play football because he just loves it.”

Ozil ended speculation over his future by signing a new deal at Arsenal.

Arsenal fans were also in good spirits after Ozil signed a new contract, ending speculation over his future.

The Germany World Cup winner had been linked with a move away from the club as his previous contract was due to expire this summer.

His commitment was welcomed inside the Emirates Stadium on Saturday but defender Hector Bellerin always expected Ozil to remain.

“Everyone in the training ground, everyone in the team, knew he was going to stay,” Bellerin said.

“He is a guy that loves London, loves Arsenal and he always gets really angry when things don’t go well, so you know how much it means for him to win or lose for this club.

“It is as exciting as a new signing. To have a player with his qualities and all he brings to the team to sign for a few more years, it is really exciting for Arsenal and for the fans.”

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph