Will Elneny end up as Arsenal’s new Coquelin?

Will Elneny become the new Coquelin? by Konstantin Mitov

Alright, in the midst of all the Arsenal transfer things we’re talking about, one thing I’d like to take a look at is a player who’s been largely underused at Arsenal – Mohamed Elneny. For a long time we were kind of uncertain where to play him, but in the last 2 games, he filled the DM role and it kinda worked.

It’s too early to judge anything, but I kind of like Mohamed, because of his work rate and energy, and his presence allowed Xhaka to move up the pitch and focus on his passing and it looked so much better. It’s again too early to say but what worries me is having another player who we thought would be a defensive midfielder that suddenly turned as a more of a creative type.

And this reminds me of Coquelin’s impact in a 2:0 away win at City, and I’m not sure if he’ll be given a regular chance in the squad, and if this would ruin the chance for us to finally sign a good DM because Xhaka hasn’t really worked out there.

With the addition of Mkhitaryan and Arsene’s words he could play a bit like Santi, then he’d have to line up next to Wilshere, but most probably I think Iwobi would be the one under the biggest threat from the Armenian. Regardless though, I like Elneny and I think he’s a good player to have around, but I do feel he’s not the answer to get us back to the champions league.

Hopefully it will work out for him and he won’t end up as another Coquelin that will be a few game wonder and then eventually fall out of contention again. Only time will tell, but I feel like we still need a few more reinforcements….



  1. Innit says:

    The problem was that we needed better than Coquelin innit. Coquelin was really good when teamed up with Cazorla but after that he was just okay. We needed our own Kante or Matic for a long time. Eleny won’t be good enough and Wenger doesn’t spend big on defensive midfielders. He has said that himself. He spent 5 mil on Eleny and got Coquelin young
    Again Wenger is the problem

    1. Andy T says:

      One of the turn around moments of the Chelsea game was when Elneny dropped back into the defence to make it a back 5 but then had the ability to read the game and step forward back into midfield as we gained more control. This allowed Koscielny and Mustafi to shut down the space in front of them breaking up attacks earlier and putting pressure on Chelsea that they couldn’t find an answer to. Agree we need to bite the bullet and buy a died in the wool Mascerano in his early days player but just can’t see that happening with Wenger in place.

    2. Alkali says:

      Jorgingo, Gueye or ndidi wud be good additions to the team.

    3. Sven Knows Best says:

      The fact that a 5 mill. average player like Elneny can contribute from the DM spot, suggests a top player like Kante would bring at least 7, 8 points per season — the difference between 2nd and 5th or 3rd and 6th place.

  2. Midkemma says:

    “I like Elneny and I think he’s a good player to have around, but I do feel he’s not the answer to get us back to the champions league.”

    I feel the same dude.
    ElNeny has such pasion that it is hard not to like the guy, always got that smile, says the right things, puts in 200% effort… but not quite got the quality.

    I would say he is 90% the way there though. Learn to defend better and learn to pass forward and he could be an asset…


    ElNeny isn’t the answer and a lot of people would like to see a top DM get signed, if their (and my) dreams are answered then where would it leave ElNeny?

    For this, I want to sell him, sell him to a team he wants to go to and I do not care if AFC make a loss on him. He has shown the right attitude and deserves a chance to find a team that he would do well in.
    If he stays then I will continue to hope he steps up and makes a fool out of me, I like it when a player wearing our badge makes me change my mind and converts me.

  3. Jerick says:

    Elneny is so underrated in this team. Is it because he’s not from a fancy country known for producing top footballers or is it because he didn’t come with a big price tag? The lad works tirelessly for the team whenever given the chance. Most people are like “oh he doesn’t create enough chances or oh he passes side ways too much” but that is what we want, balance. Imagine if he should start dribbling forward like Wilshere and Ramsey then we’d be exposed. Just look at Busquets for Barca. Not on the same level but that’s how Busquets plays.

    1. Yeah but the problem is it is not clear what El Neny’s real position is just like Xhaka. Is El Neny a DM or a CM? If he is a DM he needs to break up play more often and stamp out any fire with authority. If he is a CM well…Ramsey and Wilshere offer more creativity and attacking threat than him. I think El Neny is best suited for a DM role at Arsenal as he prefers to pass sideways rather than drive forward and create.

      1. Sven Knows Best says:


        Much of the time as a DM he just seems to wander around, not really having the positional sense of someone like Kante or Matic or Fernandinho, who regularly break up oppositional attacks. Even Kolasinac was excellent in that respect from the wing when he first came.

  4. Vlad says:

    KM is on a roll. 4 posts in 4 days. And he’s even chiming in on the discussions. Watch him disappear when thumbs up/down come back as he can’t take even a little bit of a criticism. As for Elneny – I guess all those games he played as a CB finally paid back. I too like his work rate and energy. He might not be as skillful on a ball but he certainly makes up for it in other departments. Definitely a good squad player to have.

  5. Glen Ringkøbing Jensen says:

    I have liked Elneny from day one. He works hard and opposite some other player. Elneny is a player who is good at finding a free room and is thus always playable for his fellow players.

    I would have him in my squat over Iwobi any day

  6. McLov says:

    Welbeck and Elnenu have tremendous amount of qualities which please the fans.

    But in the end they are just squad players, at best. They should not be near the first XI unless we are ravaged by injuries.

  7. Gelz says:

    Kinda of works and nice guy are not the hallmarks of a true DM, if we want to move on to the next level or even back in to the top 4 we definitely need an upgrade, why should a DM only play the ball sideways or backwards just to play it safe, they should be able to pass in multiple directions long or short, there primary objective should be to sit back and defend instead of bombing forward and start attacks from there. For to long this has been another problem position that has been neglected

  8. LL COOL GUNNER says:

    O.T PEA is coming,

    1. Salmonella says:

      No he, isn’t

  9. Grandad says:

    Elneny is a workhorse who does a good job for the team.He is a very handy player to have on the bench because he is so adaptable as he proved the other night against Chelsea.At £5m he is a steal which cannot be said about Xhaka who is a liability when it comes to defending and lacks mobility to be an effective box to box midfielder. Just what Wenger sees in him I don,t know but he is one of the weakest links in the Arsenal team in my humble opinion.

  10. barryglik says:

    Vieira and Gilberto were brilliant.
    But in a weaker league.
    They also had the wall behind
    and genius players in front.
    But then 2 massive changes came.
    Chelsea and later City stormed the Utd- Arsenal ramparts.
    Utd and Sir Alex fought back but Arsenal and Wenger could or would not.
    Utd 7/8/9/11/13 Chelsea 05/06/10/15/17 City 12/14/18 Leicester 16.
    The second change was the arrival of Stan Kroenke in 2009.
    “I did not buy Arsenal to win trophies but to make money ”
    Wenger who Mou described as the master of failure
    suddenly became Arsenal’s money making “top 4 genius”.
    9 years of 4th place glory for the AKB’s and 4th place agony for the AOB.
    Thats where Elneny comes in.
    Never win you PL. Top 4 club level. Cheap.
    The quintessential Arsenal player post the arrival
    of Chelsea, City and Stan.
    The endless debate on this site remains our interpretation
    of the Arsenal response to the arrival of Abramovich and Qatari oil.
    AKB’s say the Arsenal response been considered measured
    and responsible with the interests of the fans at heart?
    AOB’S say the response been selfish and gutless with the
    money making owner and selfish narcissistic dictator manager
    killing Arsenal fans title aspirations for a decade?
    The debate continues.

    1. Kenny Rolfe says:

      Good article barryglik, but I think you mean UAE’s oil, PSG’s got Qatar’s oil

  11. AndersS says:

    The Elneny, Xhaka, Wilshire trio works, because they all are doing quite a bit of defensive work and they are also good going forward..
    If you take one out and play someone like Ramsey, who may be good offensively, but all over the place defensively, then we will lack defensively, if we don’t have one very strong DM. Elneny also works better, when we have 4 at the back. If we only play 3 at the back, there is more pressure on the guy right in front of them to protect, and that again requires at least on very strong DM.
    So as I see it, if the trio Wilshere, Xhaka, Elneny can stay healthy, then we should keep Ramsey out.

  12. John0711 says:

    Yea and il turn into Richard gere

  13. Kenny Rolfe says:

    Ok, he’s done well in the last couple of games but he’s not the answer. It’s a very important position and we need world class defensive midfielder, but you all know Wenger, two decent games and he’s now thinking, hold on, he could save me a fortune, in which case, we’ll probably be stuck with him like Denilson for the next three or four years

  14. Trudeau says:

    Hats off to Elneny but an upgrade is needed. I really liked the wasy he could slide from aplsying DM to one of 3 CBs. Great weapon to be able to change from a 442 to 352 without having to change personnel. Not sure AMN could do that at this stage in his career. Maybe William Carvalho?

  15. JJPawn says:

    Finally, a feature on Elneny, who I have been pointing to for a while.

    What do you need in a DM in the new game of speed and movement? Primarily stamina to keep up and close down the passing lanes intelligently, while also being able to pass the ball or control the ball as need.



    What Elneny does for this formation is underestimated.

    For example, he his role allows the wing backs to be vertical in responsibility that thus more deadly with a strike or a cross as they can commit to the attack with the ball. When the wingbacks track back they can do so down the line shutting anything down or chasing those breaks down, knowing that the inside is covered by Elneny to slow the break away. For example, we often see Bellerin take the ball highl, but then has to return to also cover the inside, making it harder to stop the cross with a turn to the outside. With Elneny in the side, Bellerin has support to track the break away opposition knowing that Elneny will get between the ball and the central defense.

    Eleneny is also able to play without the ball by tracking their #10. We saw that with his role on Hazard. Chelsea lost because for the most part Elneny shut Hazard down that became clearer as the game progressed. It frustrated Harzard to be without the ball for such long periods. Elneny began tentatively, but grew more confident.

    I would sell Jack as soon as he signs a new contract. The problem is that there are no takers for him as he is not suited for the EPL. Maybe in Italy, where the game is a bit slower and more positional, and he can keep the ball longer?

    I agree that Elneny’s dedication is up there. What people should also know is that North African produces good middle distance runners, though more further west than Egypt. So, the size of Elneny and his stamina works to well.

    1. Alkali says:

      Sell wilshere and keep Ramsey, xhaka and elneny. I want me some of what u smoked.

      1. John0711 says:

        Spot on

    2. Abbz says:


      With Ramsey ready to rotate/fill in for Xhaka/Jack/Ozil/Mkhi. Hopefully Aubameyang to rotate/cover for the attacking players.
      AMN/Kolasinac to cover Elneny.

  16. summerbreez says:

    Elneny is pretty good but sometimes he is left alone with no one near him to pass the ball in one particular match there was 2 players attacking elneny with no one insight I was screaming watching it happen I see some tactics where they mount heavy pressure on elneny in one stage they fowled him and took the ball of him with no one near him to cover up the situation even at the chelsea game until the second half when Mr wenger addressed the problem but I believe that this problem should be addressed by the players themselves every players runs up front and live a big hole in the middle this should not happen but elneny is good on the ball and creates good space to move the ball to he has good control too his work rate is tremendous maybe he needs to be more vocal to secure the midfield but for me he is a good player for sure and he will improve more with more games under his belt

    1. JJPawn says:

      If we get Aubameyang things get interesting…


      Use Ramsay when playing weaker teams to get a better goal difference as he can supply and score.

      Another formation would use two tops, and play Mkhi and Ozil in from the wings, while the wing-backs go vertical. Meanwhile Elneny would protect the back line or Ramsay would join the attack, again depending the opposition and stage of the game.





  17. Phil says:

    Let’s not get carried away here on someone is average in terms of actual ability.Have we forgotten the part he played in the performance at Forest when he was the Defensive Midfielder in yet another embarrassing team display. Squad/Bench player at best.

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