Henrikh Mkhitaryan finally returned to the pitch on Monday, after an injury in mid-December forced him to miss a month and a half of football.
In an attempt to build his fitness, Mkhitaryan was named in a very strong u23 side facing West Ham on Monday, alongside the likes of Konstantinos Mavropanos, Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah, Xavier Amaechi, Bukayo Saka and more.
It was no surprise to see the team race into a 3-0 lead by half-time. Eddie Nketiah opened the scoring, assisted by Xavier Amaechi, who now has three goals and three assists in four starts since his return from injury. It was Nketiah’s first u23 game and first goal since November.
Joe Willock then added a second soon after, with Jordi Osei-Tutu providing the assist. Osei-Tutu was also involved in the build-up to the first goal, and the right-back is starting to make a case for his inclusion at first-team level, especially with Hector Bellerin’s injury.
Then Konstantinos Mavropanos added a third, seemingly from a rebound, though by that point the fog made it impossible to tell. Unsurprisingly, the game was then called off at half-time.
For Mkhitaryan, the result and the match abandonment isn’t of much importance. The key thing is that he returned to pitch and made it through 45 minutes without any setbacks. He’ll presumably now start to be available for first-team selection, although he faces new competition in the form of Denis Suarez. Welcome back!