Arsenal’s start to 2018-19 has proven to be extremely difficult, as the Gunners have lost both of their opening matches under Unai Emery.
The fixture list was cruel to the North London side, throwing up games against Manchester City and Chelsea, and the Gunners have been left empty-handed despite showing fight in Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to the Blues.
Maurizio Sarri’s side raced into a two-goal lead in the first half but were pegged back by Arsenal, before Marcos Alonso’s last strike ensured the Blues kept all three points in West London. Here, we have identified one winner and one loser from the Gunners’ squad.
Winner: Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Regularly criticised during his time at Manchester United for a perceived failure to perform in big matches, Henrikh Mkhitaryan showed that is not a problem at Arsenal with a superb individual performance against Chelsea.
The Armenia international bounced back from a shocking miss, blazing over the bar with the goal at his mercy, to pull the Gunners back into the match with the first goal under Emery’s regime before then turning provider for Alex Iwobi’s equaliser.
Mkhitaryan certainly has a long way to go until he fully fills the void that Alexis Sanchez’s departure in January left but the early signs under a new boss are promising, building upon a solid first few months at the club from last season.
Loser: Mesut Ozil
Entering the campaign on the back of a tough summer, where Mesut Ozil embarked on a war of words with Germany’s Football Association and at least temporarily closed the door towards further international football after the World Cup.
Ozil found support from Arsenal on social media but it is clear his head is not quite where it needs to be at the moment, as he endured another tough test against Chelsea. Although not as bad as social media will have you believe, the World Cup winner is certainly far from his best.
Clearly low on confidence, Ozil needs a solid performance to get him back to his highest level and needs his team-mates to rally around him in the coming weeks.