Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan hailed by Wenger after full Arsenal debuts
LONDON — Arsene Wenger hailed newcomers Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after impressive first starts for Arsenal, saying “it looks like they have played with us forever.”
Mkhitaryan had three assists, including one for Aubameyang to score with a lovely chipped finish on his debut, as Arsenal overwhelmed Everton 5-1 in the Premier League on Saturday.
It was an impressive start for this new-look Arsenal side, with Aubemeyang and Mkhitaryan having joined in a tumultuous January transfer window.
“Overall, the two players integrated our game well, and they look like they have played with us forever,” Wenger told a news conference. “Because they have similar qualities to what our game is about. They are technically good, they are quick. It was a convincing first performance.”
Mkhitaryan also assisted on two of Aaron Ramsey’s three goals as the Welshman netted his first Premier League hat trick, and it’s clear his connection with Aubameyang still remains from their days at Borussia Dortmund.
Mkhitaryan came on as a substitute in Tuesday’s 3-1 loss at Swansea while this was Aubameyang’s first Arsenal appearance after joining from Dortmund on Wednesday.
The Gabon striker only had one training session with the team this week, and Wenger warned that he will only get better as he gets used to his new surroundings.
“I feel the quality of his movement was excellent, the quality of his finishing was excellent. That is not completely at his best physically, he has still some work to do physically,” Wenger said.
“I like the quality of his movement I must say. He is always looking to go in spaces that are very difficult for the defenders to cover. When we know him better and understand him better, I think he will be more dangerous.”
Ramsey certainly seemed to enjoy playing with his new teammates as well, popping up in the box to meet two crosses from Mkhitaryan and scoring with a deflected shot from distance. That’s the kind of performance Wenger wants to see more of from the midfielder.
“I felt always that he had between 10 and 15 goals at least in his locker,” Wenger said. “He didn’t do it until now because I think he rushed sometimes his finishing. He looks much calmer. The only difference I see, he doesn’t rush it. That’s the secret to being efficient.”
Mattias is ESPN FC’s Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.