Mkhitaryan, Ozil potential excites Mertesacker
Henrikh Mkhitaryan's combination play with Mesut Ozil has been "promising", according to Arsenal's club captain Per Mertesacker, as the Gunners prepare to face Manchester City in the EFL Cup final without the cup-tied Armenia international.
Mkhitaryan arrived at the Emirates Stadium in a swap deal that saw Alexis Sanchez move in the opposite direction to Manchester United in January, and the creative midfielder has settled well into life in north London.
His swift adaptation is partly down to a positive pre-existing relationship with fellow new arrival Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, owing to their time together at Borussia Dortmund, but it was the former's affinity with Ozil that has Mertesacker full of optimism.
"It was promising to see Micki combining the way he did with Mesut, who also impressed me," he was quoted as saying by the London Evening Standard.
"It's good to see him getting into those positions and finishing the way he did."
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 23, 2018
In a potential blow to the Gunners' chances at Wembley, the pair will be denied the opportunity to continue forging their partnership in the EFL Cup decider against City, as Mkhitaryan played 21 minutes for United earlier in the competition and is cup-tied as a result.
Mertesacker, though, praised Mkhitaryan's attitude since joining the club and is hopeful he will be able to make an important contribution.
"I said when we signed Micki that I was delighted to have him with us, and the early signs have been impressive," he said.
"I'm told that he has already assisted five goals, and I'm not too surprised at that because he has that vision, that creativity. He's not only a good player but he's a great character too. He's interested in improving and is eager to learn, even though he's 29.
"Honestly, it's been brilliant to work with him. Micki wants to work hard, he wants to learn and he wants to take on our DNA, which fits so well to him personally."