Will Elneny become our Jordan Henderson? by ThirdManJW
I have never once imagined this, but could Elneny become a key player for us? For me, he’s just put in a MOTM performance against United, and formed a brilliant partnership with Partey in the game. I was tempted to give it to Partey, who was also excellent, but he did lose it a few times when dribbling… if I am being hyper critical.
Like many Arsenal fans, I was happy to keep Elneny as a squad player, but if he had left, it wouldn’t have bothered me. He’s been out on loan, was a cheap signing, and had never really done much in an Arsenal shirt. I do feel he has been unlucky though during his Arsenal career.
Elneny has always been consistent, no major mistakes, but nothing spectacular either. Which was unfortunate for him, because he joined us towards the end of Wenger’s reign, deep in regression, at a time when we badly needed someone spectacular. He became known as Mr. Sideways, given that was the direction of most of his passes, and then like many Arsenal players at the time, he soon felt the wrath of the fans. Which led to less game time, before a loan move to Besiktas. It was hard to imagine he had a future with us.
I see a lot of similarities with Henderson’s time at Liverpool, and Elneny’s at Arsenal. His signing didn’t seem to impress their fans as well. Like Elneny, Henderson was a consistently hard worker, never their worst player, but never their best either. Also, like Elneny, it looked as if his time was up when he was told to find a new club. But Henderson decided to stay, and fight for his place, and now look at him! He has become a key player, and club captain. You notice when he’s not in their midfield. Many still don’t rate his overall abilities, but in regard to how Liverpool play under Klopp, Henderson is so important. Elneny seems to be on a similar path to success at Arsenal now.
From what I can tell, Elneny suits how Arteta wants to play. Hard working, defensive responsibility, mobility, with attacking intuition when needed. I would argue that he’s been our best player this season so far. His consistent performances are right up there with Gabriel, and Saka, in my opinion. And rightly so, he’s now getting more game time. Arteta isn’t afraid to drop under performers, as he has clearly noticed Elneny’s performances. Xhaka is slightly underperforming, and Ceballos is not doing a lot, and so Elneny is now reaping the rewards. I can’t think of a poor performance from him this season. Given his mobility, and Partey’s, which is key, I hope to see these two starting together regularly.
Elneny is also making a lot more forward passes as well, I imagine something Arteta has worked on, which is making him more of a complete player. If Arteta continues to put his trust in him, I think Elneny will become a key player. Despite improving under Arteta, Xhaka has zero mobility, which one cannot change, and Ceballos is only a loan player, who is very inconsistent. So Elneny has a fantastic opportunity to cement a place in the starting XI. For this season, at the very least.
Is Elneny becoming a key player for us? Could a partnership with Partey be the future?