Searching The Stats: Henrikh Mkhitaryan

New Blood

So. No one knows what is going on at Arsenal. Will Aubameyang be an Arsenal player by the end of the week? Will Giroud still be an Arsenal player by the end of the week? The potential Arsenal front line is changing every hour with new reports coming in from every source. The one thing we do know for certain is that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will be a central figure for the Gunners.

To ease my sanity, I will refer to the Armenian as HM from now on. Comfortable as a CAM, using his natural talent as a playmaker, HM is incredibly versatile. His real talent, however, is as an out and out winger.

Unlike many wingers on the market, he is neither an inside forward or a pace merchant. He is part of a dying breed of exceptionally talented footballers who have not been re-engineered as a wholly central player.

Classic Right Midfielder

While at Dortmund, in which he dominated the right-wing, he averaged around 2.7 dribbles per game, in comparison to his Man Utd days, in which the figure plummeted to just 1.1 dribbles per game.

This demonstrates two things. A) He is much better suited to fast paced football. B) He is much better suited out on the wing, where he can control the flank. A partnership with Bellerin could make opposition left-backs think twice before stepping out in front of Arsenal from now on.

His tackles per game, a statistic that people may not associate with HM, were also significantly stronger in Germany. In Manchester he averaged only 1 tackle a game. With Dortmund he would rack up 1.8 each game. While he is capable of playing the central role, he is most dangerous out on the wing.

Hopefully this is where he will play in North London, possibly as part of the old 4-2-3-1 style that Wenger has always preferred. The manage will have a hefty task fitting in all of his news toys, should he sign Aubameyang, but it is clear that HM should play a major role.

In his final season at Dortmund, he featured in 48 games in total, the most of any player in that team. He also tallied up the most assists, with 20 in all competitions. On top of all this, he managed an impressive 22 goals in all compeititons, demonstrating the huge importance he played in that side.

Destined For Success

That year, Dortmund finished second, beating Bayer Leverkusen in third by 18 points. Were it not for the dominant Bayern Munich, Dortmund would have stormed the league, taking no prisoners. If Aubameyang was their Jamie Vardy in 2015/16, HM was certainly their Riyad Mahrez.

A relatively quiet figure on the pitch and in the media, perhaps why his stint in Manchester was unsuccessful, but the technique he shows on the ball, and the athleticism he displayed at Dortmund, show just how crucial he can be to a side.

It’s go go go at Arsenal right now, and no one knows what will happen at the end of the transfer window. All we know is that we may well have struck absolute gold with Henrikh Mkhitaryan.