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Mohamed Elneny: Arsenal’s Unassuming Utility Man

Another day, another 7/10 display from Mohamed Elneny.

The above is based off of this season, I hasten to add. If the notion was made that Mohamed Elneny put in such levels of performance each week since he joined Arsenal, you’d be grossly mistaken.

Against Leicester he made it three impressive performances on the bounce – excluding his omission against West Ham – as the Gunners claimed the 2-0 win their performance deserved. It was by no means an outstanding victory, nor was sub-par. If anything, it was reminiscent of Elneny himself.

This season, the Egyptian is earning praise. Rightly so. Starting with a composed display against none other than Liverpool in the Community Shield, he followed that up with an equally diligent outing alongside the same midfield partner against Fulham. On Wednesday, once again he was professional in his approach, committed in his duties and one of the better players on the night.

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Squads across the globe need an Elneny. A player who is willing to play second fiddle for the benefit of the team, knuckle down, work hard but can still be called upon at the last minute without causing the fanbase to gasp in horror.

Not a ‘utility man’ by the normal terminology – positionally flexible – he comes in and provides a solution when there is nobody else to fix it. Work is being done in the transfer market to source the abiding answer.

Mikel Arteta will need to call on Elneny more than once this season. Heck, if the additions the club are seeking fall through then his name is one of the first in the matchday squad list.

Elneny is not, however, a top class player. In possession he offers stability and composure, rarely giving the ball away, yet this is mainly in part to his inferior passing range.

As the deepest midfielder collecting short passes from Bernd Leno there are few qualms about his capabilities, yet there isn’t much in the way of progression in his play in the latter two thirds of the pitch – although there has been some degree of improvement in this department.

What we’ve seen of late is an above average player lifting his game due to superior coaching, tactical responsibilities and self-confidence.

Next: 4 Things We Learned From Leicester Win

This is all Arsenal need from their squad’s ‘Elneny’, though. And for now, the rejuvenated 28-year-old is an ideal member of the squad.

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