Mohamed Elneny Still Has a Big Part to Play at the Emirates This Season
Arsenal accepted a £10 million bid for midfielder Mohamed Elneny during the summer but the Egyptian opted to stay in North London and produced arguably his best performance in a Gunners shirt against Chelsea in the Community Shield, which Arsenal went on to win on penalties despite Chelsea being the heavily backed favourites heading into the contest. Given that performance, he could play a significant role this season alongside Granit Xhaka in the centre of the park this season.
Both Leicester and Galatasaray have expressed interest in signing the Egyptian international and the Gunners appeared to be willing to enter negotiations, even accepting a bid from the Foxes in July. However, Elneny vowed to fight for his place at the Emirates and impressed fans over the course of a full 90 minutes at Wembley in the Community Shield.
Elneny was signed for £7million in January 2016 from Swiss outfit Basel but, despite some encouraging performances, he failed to nail down a regular starting position in Arsene Wenger’s side. He didn’t feature towards the end of last season and there was speculation surrounding his future throughout the pre-season period. He made 29 appearances in all competitions last season, netting twice in the process, but his final Premier League appearance came in the 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace.
Many Gunners fans were surprised to see his name on the team sheet ahead of the curtain raiser against Chelsea but he fully justified his inclusion with a sterling performance in the heart of the midfield. Interviewed after the match, Elneny stated that he is 100% focused on Arsenal and believes this success can provide them with a springboard ahead of the new campaign.
Another player who impressed on Sunday was new recruit Sead Kolasinac, who struck the equaliser and put in an eye-catching performance down the left-hand side. He slotted into Arsene Wenger’s preferred 3-5-2 formation perfectly, with the 23-year-old looking composed throughout the contest. His turn of pace could also be a handy asset throughout the season. This new founded defensive solidity could also help the aging Petr Čech submit a strong bid for the 17/18 Golden Glove winner, the Czech is currently fifth favourite for the prize.
— Sead Kolašinac (@seadk6) August 6, 2017
Aaron Ramsey is expected to miss the first couple of weeks of the new Premier League season through injury, which could open the door for Mohamed Elneny to cement his place in the side. His partnership with Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka could blossom throughout the campaign with the pair complementing one another’s game perfectly. The Swiss international will be looking for a solid second season after receiving various levels of criticism during his debut campaign.
The Community Shield success will give confidence to a side who have been written off by many pundits this season. However, their defence is still considered vulnerable, particularly against better sides and “Both Teams to Score” was one of the advised bets in the Arsenal vs Chelsea tips August 6th, with each side finding the net inside 90 minutes. Despite currently being widely expected to finish in the Champions League qualification places, Arsenal will still be seen as outsiders to lift the Premier League crown.
Alexandre Lacazette’s arrival has lifted some of the gloom around the Emirates after they missed out on fourth spot last season. The powerful striker has been prolific in Ligue 1 over the past couple of seasons and appears to be more of a natural finisher than fellow Frenchman Olivier Giroud. Lacazette will most likely be tasked with leading the line for the majority of the season, and has been backed by punters to lift the Golden Boot at the end of the campaign. Midfield is a key area for the Gunners next season, especially if Wenger wishes to persevere with his favoured 3-5-2 formation and Mohamed Elneny could be pivotal in helping guide his side back into the Champions League spots.