Since returning from his loan at Besiktas, Mohamed Elneny has made six appearances [five starts one sub] under Mikel Arteta at Arsenal.
Despite impressing to the point his loan club would have very happily kept him last season, involvement as heavy as this was not expected when he arrived back from Turkey.
Having his number four shirt handed to William Saliba appeared to signify the beginning of the end for a midfielder fans had grown to see as a squad player at best. Dani Ceballos making the U-turn back to north London after such an impressive second half of last season also suggested Elneny’s days were numbered in the Arsenal midfield.
Around came September, however, and there he was, starting the season as one of the club’s two midfield options at Wembley. With the signing of Thomas Partey likely to make an immediate impact on the landscape at Arsenal, the consistency of game time the 28-year-old has had since may not be as steady.
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Looking at Elneny’s performance this season, particularly in the early weeks, he was deserving of his place in the side. Granit Xhaka may possess more quality, but positioned on the right, the Egyptian was almost a mirror image of his midfield partner.
When Arsenal looked to build through the thirds, he had a positive impact in these phases of play. When it was time to press high, he was supporting the frontmen well. When it was time to shield the defence, he done this job well too.
In his more recent performances, however, Elneny has failed to be as effective in the midfield. Liverpool were always going to provide a greater challenge than most but Sheffield United was a clear example of the drive missing in the Arsenal midfield that should come with Partey’s inclusion.
Expected to drop out of the starting lineup as a result of the club’s…