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29th Apr 2018

People are making the same point about Mkhitaryan’s goal

He levelled the scoring early in the second half

Reuben Pinder

He levelled the scoring at the start of the second half

Arsène Wenger fielded a weakened XI for his final ever visit to Old Trafford as Arsenal boss, with the focus very much on their upcoming Europa League tie against Atletico Madrid on Thursday.

The likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Calum Chambers and Reis Nelson were all given starts, alongside January signings Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who signed from today’s opponents, Manchester United.

The Armenian was not a great success at United and never quite saw eye to eye with José Mourinho. His form was streaky, but his talent was evident. The fans generally liked him, sympathising with the issues he faced off the pitch as well as the competition in the squad for a starting slot.

United took the lead in the first half as Paul Pogba tapped the ball into an open net, but only a few minutes into the second act, Mkhitaryan levelled the score with a well placed, powerful shot to David De Gea’s right hand side.

When players score against their old teams, the ‘muted celebration’ often comes out. It can either consist of a look of acknowledgement that you’ve just inconvenienced the people who used to support you or two hands held up in the air, as if you’ve been caught by the police.

Mkhitaryan opted for a combination of both, out of respect for his former supporters. But it confused some viewers, who didn’t see it as necessary.

Given his minimal impact at United, and the way Mourinho treated him during his time there, viewers were surprised he didn’t take this opportunity to rub United’s noses in it.

Maybe it’s this sort of mentality that Mourinho didn’t like.