Henrikh Mkhitaryan claims he does not have anything to prove at Arsenal after failing to make the grade at Manchester United.
Mkhitaryan, who moved to the Emirates Stadium in a swap deal that saw Alexis Sanchez head to Manchester United, enjoyed a dream Premier League debut for the Gunners, recording three assists in a 5-1 demolition of Everton.
The Armenia international had fallen out of favour under Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford, aiming a dig at the Portuguese on his departure by saying he was looking forward to playing “attacking football” at Arsenal.
Against Everton, Mkhitaryan combined to good effect with fellow January arrival Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, a former Borussia Dortmund team-mate, and the duo will take on Tottenham in Saturday’s north London derby.
Mkhitaryan, who scored five Premier League goals in his two seasons working with Mourinho, is pleased to leave a miserable period at United behind him.
“I don’t want to find excuses,” Mkhitaryan told reporters ahead of the derby.
“I don’t want to blame anyone but I am happy that this [half of the] season passed already. I am starting a new chapter in my life, in my football career and I am very happy to be here.
“I will be pleased to achieve more than I have done in Manchester, of course. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone. I just have to enjoy myself, do my best and at the end I will see where I can reach.”
Arsene Wenger’s plan to pair Mkhitaryan with Aubameyang may marginalise previous record signing Alexandre Lacazette, who was an unused substitute against Everton after the Gabon striker’s £56million arrival.
But Mkhitaryan is excited to link up with Aubameyang again, the pair having thrilled in their time together at Dortmund.
“I won’t mention all the details because it is not fair but yes, when I signed for Arsenal, I was in touch with him saying ‘so, the first step is done, now we are waiting for the second one’,” Mkhitaryan added.
“I think it could only be in a dream that we could join another club other than Dortmund but I am very happy for that. I have known him very well, he is one of my best friends and the best team-mate I have ever had.
“I am very happy to have him here and I think all the fans are happy to see him in an Arsenal shirt. What can I say? I love playing with him. I can understand him from step one and hopefully for the next games we are going to achieve more.
“I have read a lot about the derby, about playing against Tottenham and it is not the first time I have seen or heard that because I have been in the Premier League for quite a long time so I know the importance of the game. I know the importance of the derby and I am ready for it.”