The day is November 1st, 2020. Arsenal are leading 0-1 at the 91st minute against age-old rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford. The majority of the players of the away side are sitting in a low block.
But suddenly an Arsenal player gets out of the pack and chases United’s Victor Lindelöf after a throw-in. As a result, the Swede is forced to move towards his own goal. He then passes the ball to the team’s left-back Luke Shaw.
The Englishman tries to surge forward, closer to Arsenal’s 12-yard area, but his pathway is blocked. Subsequently, Shaw passes the ball back to Lindelöf, who tries to beat his man. But the ball goes out of play for the opposition’s throw-in.
The player who was involved in all those instances is none other than Arsenal’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny. Despite playing the whole 90 minutes, he was the one spearheading any pressure at the Theater of Dreams.
When the Arsenal players looked jaded, he looked rejuvenated. When they looked for inspiration, he provided it on a platter.
This was just one of many cases in the Egyptian’s “second part” of his Arsenal career.
After the midfielder was loaned out to Turkish side Besiktas in 2019, many believed that a parting of ways was more of a case of “when” not “if.”
Being frozen out by the Gunners’ previous head coach Unai Emery, Elneny’s renaissance under Mikel Arteta was even more admirable after being indirectly told that he was not good enough.
So why did Arsenal keep Elneny last summer? And does he have a future at the Emirates Stadium?
The answer to that can be perfectly summed up by Arteta, “What Mo(hamed Elneny) transmits through the team is special.”
“He has this energy as a person, he goes in a room and he creates an atmosphere.”
The former FC Basel man can often be seen in training photos and videos, having fun with his teammates. Even the people who do not occasionally watch the videos that the club post on their social media handles, they can unanimously agree on the spot that this is a guy who is extremely popular in the dressing room.
— AUBA⚡️ (@Auba) December 28, 2020
Although some might argue that he not at Arsenal’s level, people like him in the squad are invaluable. The Egyptian sets a good example by giving it his all on matchday as well as in every single training session.
When the 28-year-old was shipped out to Turkey in Emery’s second season in-charge, legendary former manager Arsene Wenger said, “First and foremost, Elneny is a modern day midfielder.
“He will work hard for the team. He has a great technique. His physical attributes are also very important.
“His passes are also very direct and will help the team in attacking areas.”
Elneny is a player who leaves it all on the pitch.
With Arsenal keeping tabs on several defensive midfielders in the market, being on the teamsheet every single week does not seem viable for the Egyptian.
However, keeping him around and using him as a squad player can only benefit this lackluster Arsenal squad.
After all, everybody can be certain of one thing from Elneny, that he is going to give every ounce of his energy, from the very start till the full-time whistle.