Thoughts on Elneny’s Performance at Camp Nou
It was always going to be an uphill task getting any positive result against a side like Barcelona, especially in the wretched run of form the Gunners find themselves in. But like in many Champions League second leg Knockout Phase ties before this, the Gunners went to the away side with nothing to lose after cocking up in the first leg…as usual.
Changes were needed from that aberration of a squad that couldn’t get past Watford at home in the FA Cup, so the manager benched Per Mertesacker, Kieran Gibbs and surprisingly, Francis Coquelin and Joel Campbell. Whether he was ‘resting’ the Costa Rican for the game against Everton remains to be seen, but leaving him out on such a spectacle must have hurt the lad. Remember that he’s yet to sign a new deal and it’s moments like this that would make him think about his importance to the team but hey, that’s his problem.
Alex Iwobi bellied his years to put up a virtuoso performance and his impact was felt when he left the pitch, but my player of the night was the new kid on the block, Mohamed Elneny. I know it took a while for him to get settled in and even get some games with the fading Mathieu Flamini even getting minutes ahead of him when the Coq was still out injured but Aaron Ramsey’s injury setback has paved the way for Elneny to make his mark on the team and boy, have I been impressed.
Yes, his shooting let him down against Watford but at least, he was willing to try but what I really love about the guy is his ability to be everywhere on the pitch and dictate tempo of the game. His passing is high up there with the very best in the team and in yesterday’s game against Barcelona, he covered the most distance with a whopping 12.85 km, according to the stats boys.
With Ramsey still out injured, Elneny will get an extended run out as a box to box midfielder but it’s going to be interesting to see what happens when Santi Cazorla returns in April. His versatility also ensures that he can play the holding role too, so with Coq dipping in form, his place can be threatened by the tarantula haired chap.
I hope I get my 5,000 bucks from Canon Crested as well
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