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'What can I say? I love playing with Auba'

It did not take long for Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's partnership to blossom in Arsenal colours.

Just 37 minutes into their respective home debuts against Everton, the pair combined for the Gabon striker to score - and while they could not repeat the trick in the north London derby, the early signs are encouraging.

"We did not have too much time to train together [before the Everton game]," Mkhitaryan told Arsenal Player. "He came a bit late, like two games before the game and he had been training only twice. 

"Two days wasn’t enough to remember all the stuff that we did together but in the game it worked very well.

"I thought it could only be in a dream that we could join another club other than Dortmund but I am very happy for that. I know him very well, he is one of my best friends and one of the the best team-mates I have every 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. 

"Everyone knows that Mesut is one of the best players in the world," he continued. "It is only happiness and joy to play next to him because he understands very well the  game and has great vision, amazing technique and he is the best in his position."


Our game at Leicester has been postponed

Our Premier League fixture at Leicester City has been postponed.

The match, originally scheduled for Saturday, March 17, will be moved due to the Foxes' participation in the Emirates FA Cup quarter-final over the same weekend.

Stay close to for news of when the game will be rearranged for.


Ospina - My role as the new dressing-room DJ

David Ospina

David Ospina is relishing his new responsibility in the dressing room.

The Colombia goalkeeper is well into his fourth season with us but has only recently taken over as the pre-match DJ, following Olivier Giroud’s switch to Chelsea.
“It's no big deal,” Ospina told Arsenal Player. “It’s just that before a match we always listen to music. Olivier used to be in charge of the selection but now that he’s gone to Chelsea, sometimes I select the music, sometimes it’s Mustafi. We try to create a happy mood before we walk on to the pitch.
“Recently we have been listening to a lot of J Balvin, a Colombian artist who produces really good music – it just makes us smile. Afterwards, different people play all sorts of music but beforehand it’s always reggaeton.
“Anyone can play whatever they like,” he added. “I play the stuff that I listen to anyway and the other players seem to like it - it’s pretty straightforward. I just set my phone down and start off with some reggaeton but anyone can select whatever they fancy listening to.
“Every individual has their personal taste and enjoys listening to the things they like but we need something in the dressing room that will work for everyone. Olivier used to put on his music, as I mentioned. I just play things that we listen to in South America.”


Welbeck - The key moments in my education

Danny Welbeck

Nowadays he’s an established and respected member of the first-team squad, but Danny Welbeck readily admits he needed plenty of help along the way to reach the top.

When our striker came through the ranks at Manchester United, he sat between Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo in the dressing room, and was regularly offered advice by players who had taken a similar journey to reach the first team there.

“When you get into the first-team dressing room, it’s a daunting experience,” he told Arsenal Player. “You’ve tried so hard to get into the first team or train with them. When I first got put into the first-team dressing room, I was between Giggsy and Ronaldo. You walk in and it’s like ‘woah, these are two top-class players’. 

“Darren Fletcher was a massive help for me because he’d made that step up himself. Then you’ve got the Class of 92 - Giggs, Scholes, Neville, Gary Neville - plus Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic. You learn so much from these players. It’s not just how they are on the field, it’s how they are off the field as well. 

“As you carry on training with the first team, you develop mentors. Each of the players, no matter if some of them aren’t that talkative or speak much English, you still learn from every one of them. 

“There’s a lot of talent coming through at Arsenal right now. I know how it feels to make that step up from the academy and be with the first team. I’m always there to talk to, be it about football or something else. It’s an experience that I’ve been through myself and I’m always there for them to ask any questions. 

“If I see something, I’ll tell them what I think is better to do in a certain situation. It’s how they take it in and how they deal with it. I think it’s important to give the advice to the young players going through.”

Emirates and Arsenal have announced a five-year extension to their long-running shirt partnership. This will see Emirates branding feature on the shirts and training kit of all of our teams until the end of the 2023/2024 season.

It is the largest sponsorship deal ever signed by the club and will see the shirt partnership with Emirates, which started in 2006, run to at least 18 years.

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis said: "Our shirt partnership is the longest running in the Premier League and one of the longest relationships in world sport. This mutual commitment is testimony to the strength and depth of our unique relationship. Emirates are again demonstrating their great belief in our approach and ambition and their significantly increased investment will help us continue to compete for trophies and bring more success to the club and our fans around the world. 

"Emirates is a great partner for Arsenal - a world-class brand with a truly global reach. The airline plays a significant role in our ambitions to extend our influence and following around the world. The new deal, extending our shirt partnership until 2024, underlines how much both organisations value and benefit from the relationship."

As part of the extended deal, we will fly on Emirates' award-winning planes on pre-season tours. Emirates will retain marketing rights to develop campaigns and initiatives around the world. Our home will continue to be known as Emirates Stadium up to 2028, as part of the extension agreed in 2012. 

Emirates president Sir Tim Clark said: "Arsenal's strong appeal and influence around the globe, combined with their ambitions as a club, make them an ideal partner for Emirates, with values that reflect ours as a brand. As a long-standing supporter of football, we are passionate about the game and are a proud partner to the team.

"As a business, we are hugely committed to supporting sports all over the world and our relationship with Arsenal is no different. Our partnership with Arsenal Football Club is a great combination of two truly global brands and we're very pleased to have extended this relationship for five more years - connecting fans from around the world with one of the greatest teams in the world."
Emirates first signed its sponsorship agreement with the club in 2004, providing the airline with naming rights to the stadium until 2021 and a shirt sponsorship that began in the 2006/2007 season. 


Ainsley - What I've learnt from each position

It has been quite a journey for Ainsley Maitland-Niles: from striker, to winger, to central midfielder, to now playing on the left side of our defence.

The 20-year-old has made a big impression since breaking into the first team, but what lessons has he picked up along the way from his early days as a forward to where he is now?

"It’s nice to have that sort of responsibility [as a striker in my early days], that ‘Ainsley’s going to get you goals’" he told Arsenal Player. "I did that most years but then there was a year where I was a bit too small and people started growing quickly. Then they decided to put me on the wing.
"It’s just more of a movement thing [out there] and trying to off-balance defenders so that you can get behind them. I was always quick so it was just about using your brain more.
"Me and the coaches then had a few discussions where they believed that I had enough technique and some of my talents were wasted out wide when the game goes through the middle. They took a gamble with me by deciding to play me in midfield for a few games. 

"It paid off, I had a few good games in there and they saw me start to grow physically. My footballing intelligence started to get better too and I sat down with Carl Laraman and Steve Gatting, and we made a plan on how I could develop as a central midfielder.
"Being a wide player is similar to playing as a left back or left wing-back," he added. "Central midfield is obviously about the technique and awareness, so you always know what’s going on around you. When I go up front, or around those sorts of areas, setting people up, my end product needs to be right."

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