Mkhitaryan blames Emery’s methods for Arsenal exit as freedom was removed from his game

Henrikh Mkhitaryan Arsenal 2019-20

Henrikh Mkhitaryan claims the methods of Arsenal manager Unai Emery edged him through the exits at Emirates Stadium, with the Spaniard trying to rein in his attacking instincts.

The Armenian playmaker linked up with the Gunners in January 2018 as Alexis Sanchez headed in the opposite direction to Manchester United.

Two proven performers struggled in new surroundings and now find themselves lining up on opposing sides in Serie A.

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Sanchez is taking in a season-long loan at Inter, with Mkhitaryan working on a similar agreement at Roma.

He says he had to seek a switch as he was unable to show his true colours under Emery.

Mkhitaryan told FourFourTwo: “He paid more attention to tactics, so my role changed.

“I was starting as a winger, but had to build play with the defensive midfielder.

“It’s why I couldn’t contribute as many goals or assists.

“I like to play more freely and move wherever there’s space, but you have to do the job that the manager asks.”

Henrikh Mkhitaryan Roma Sassuolo

Mkhitaryan enjoyed a productive start to his spell with Arsenal, registering three assists in one outing against Everton.

Things started to unravel quickly, though, and the 30-year-old failed to make the impact expected of him in north London.

He began to slip down the pecking order as a result, with it quickly becoming apparent that he would need a move in order to find the regular game time he craves.

Mkhitaryan added: “I couldn’t accept that I had to sit on the bench for some matches.

“I know my qualities and what I can do.

“I’m 30 years old now and I like to play football, not just sit on the bench and waste my time.

“Emery and [head of football] Raul Sanllehi assured me I was important for Arsenal, but I signed for Roma because they believed in me more.”

Mkhitaryan has only taken in four appearances for Roma, with injury issues holding him back in the Italian capital.

Time is still on his side in 2019-20, though, before a more definitive decision on his long-term future will need to be made next summer.