There are lots of factors to distinguish Arsenal under Arsene Wenger from the Gunners with Unai Emery at the helm. The personnel Emery has at his disposal is largely inherited from the last days of the Wenger era. But what these players have now and, arguably, did not have then, is a bond; a team unity where everyone looks out for each other, knows they have a part to play be it from the bench or starting the game.
A great example of this togetherness is Henrikh Mkhitaryan. He appears to be ready to fight for the cause whenever it is asked of him, as he did last night when the Gunners earned a hard-fought 2-2 draw at Old Trafford against Manchester United in the Premier League.
The draw meant the north London outfit have now gone 20 games unbeaten since the start of Emery’s tenure; the only blips being the first two games of the campaign when they went down to first Manchester City at the Emirates and then Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Dynamic flyer Mkhitaryan played his part in the entertaining stalemate last night and feels that it is perhaps two points dropped rather than one gained. True, Jose Mourinho’s outfit are certainly not at their best and could have been put to the sword. But any team going to United to grab a point following an energy-sapping North London derby victory just three days earlier, deserve credit.
Mkhitaryan, who is a former United player, says he was disappointed to not be able to chalk up the win despite taking the lead twice. He added:
“There is a lot of frustration because we should have won today. I think we deserved to win but we drew. We were trying to score the third goal but unfortunately, we couldn’t.
“Even if you have tired legs, the most important thing is to be fresh in the brain, in the mind. If you force yourself, if you push yourself to get to the end, then you will do that. You don’t have to listen to your legs, even if they are heavy or it’s hard to play. You have to do the maximum.
“Maybe that’s the positive to take, maybe it’s not. Everyone wanted to win, especially at Old Trafford. We know that it’s always hard to win there. At the end of the day, we’re also happy to get this point and try to win the next games. We want to be in the top four, so it’s very important to win every game.”
Arsenal now go into their next league game at home to Huddersfield hoping that midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who went off injured at the Theatre of Dreams, will be fit after he came in for the suspended Granit Xhaka. One player seemingly out for longer, though, is Rob Holding who suffered a serious knee injury in the match and had to be taken off on a stretcher.
He will undergo tests today to discover just how serious that injury is; one way or another it is a blow to Arsenal. But under Emery, you get the feeling they will rise above it when the Terriers come to London on Saturday.