Arsene Wenger has had a couple of weeks to assess Arsenal’s newest signing Mohamed Elneny, and it looks like he will giving the Egyptian his debut against Burnley this afternoon. Francis Coquelin will also be back in the squad and we are likely to see both of them in action today.
It seems that Wenger is expecting Elneny to be used as a defensive midfielder but he doesn’t envisage the 23 year-old being a ‘beast of a DM’ like Le Coq. “He’s not a monster,” Le Prof said. “Typically Middle Eastern people are very [wiry] with a big stamina and very agile.
“Sometimes they lack a bit of power, so he’s not a powerhouse, he’s more of a mobility player. That’s why I think he can suit our game.
“Winning the ball is not only down to power, it’s about switching on at the right moment. It’s a technique.
“You have players who are muscular and they lose fights against small players who are very slim because the smaller players are able to switch on at the right moment.
“It’s a real technique to know when to switch on. I remember small defensive midfielders who were unbelievable defensively. They had that kind of technique.
“He’s 23 years old, he played for three years in Basel, won three championships in Switzerland, played against English teams like Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool. The next step is a big one for him because to come out of Switzerland and get to the Premier League is not easy but it’s the right age for him.”
It doesn’t sound like Wenger is convinced that Elneny is totally ready to face the rigours of the Premier League, so I am expecting Coquelin to start the game, and Elneny to come on later when (if?) we have a comfortable lead. But it is going to be interesting to see him in action at last, and I’m hoping he is going to surprise me with his silky skills….