Arsenal warmed up for Saturday’s Community Shield meeting with Liverpool on Tuesday with a comfortable 4-1 victory over MK Dons.
There were plenty of encouraging takeaways for Gunners boss Mikel Arteta, with goals from youngsters Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson and Mark McGuinness.
But there was also a goal for forgotten man Mohamed Elneny, who marked his return to the club with the opener as the FA Cup winners cruised to victory over their third-tier opponents.
Elneny returned to Arsenal last week following his season-long loan at Besiktas.
Last summer, Unai Emery told the versatile midfielder that he was not part of his plans. However, with the Spaniard having been replaced by Arteta, the Egyptian may have found a new lease of life in north London.
Click to play
Tap to play
The video will start in8Cancel
Elneny started at the base of Arteta’s midfield alongside Granit Xhaka as Arteta once more opted for a three-man backline and wing-backs either side of the midfield pairing in Cedric Soares and Wolves target Ainsley Maitland-Niles.
The 28-year-old, who has made 89 appearances for the Gunners since joining from Basel in 2015, looked typically solid and understated against MK Dons, often breaking up play and pushing his side up the pitch with forward passes.
It would be reckless to draw definitive conclusions from a pre-season clash with lower-league opposition, but many Arsenal fans will have been encouraged to see Elneny back in the club’s colours after a year away.
While the Gunners have signed Willian and made permanent moves for loanees Pablo Mari and Cedric, midfield remains a problem position for Arteta.
Thomas Partey remains a dream midfield target for many Arsenal supporters, but Elneny could be an easier – and cheaper – solution to Arteta’s midfield headache.
The Spaniard presumably will have been pleased with his contribution to win over MK Dons, which could lead to…