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PREVIEW: Elneny eyes Premier League glory ahead of first full Arsenal season
Mohamed Elneny has followed the same path to success as Mohamed Salah, leaving Arab Contractors to join Swiss outfit FC Basel. After impressive seasons with the Swiss champions, both players jumped at the chance to ply their trade in England. Salah didn’t stick, but Elneny looks to have cemented his spot in London with Arsenal.
Arriving at Arsenal
Elneny joined Arsenal in January from FC Basel, as there was a midfield crisis due to the injuries of Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, and Santi Cazorla. The player’s arrival did benefit the team, as he provided the Gunners with stability in the middle of the park with his efficient passing and calm demeanor.
Elneny succeeded to start in the last 10 games in the English Premier League, in which the London club were unbeaten. Perhaps the most impressive stat the Pharaoh achieved was scoring a goal for Arsenal in the Champions League against Spanish giants Barcelona.
Arsenal managed to finish second behind Leicester City, but the fans, the players, and the manager Arsene Wenger were left frustrated at missing out on the title.
Looking on to this season
Arsenal are looking forward to change their situation with Wenger claiming, “Last year we finished ahead of our all direct rivals and finished second. Let’s go this year and make sure no one finishes above us.”
But Arsenal will face tough competition this year, due to their rivals’ additions. Manchester United added Jose Mourinho, Manchester City added Pep Guardiola, and Chelsea added Antonio Conte. Liverpool will have Jurgen Kloop as manager for a full season, and Claudio Ranieri will be looking to lead Leicester City to back-to-back titles. There will be a huge fight in terms of tactics and mind games, and every manager, including Wenger, will look ahead to claim the league next season.
Ins and Outs
The offseason has seen the departure of midfielders Mikel Arteta, who joined Manchester City in a coaching role, Tomas Rosicky, and Mathieu Flamini.
They made an early splash in the transfer market by signing Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach. They followed up this signing with deals for Japanese youth striker Takuma Asano and Bolton defender Rob Holding.
However, analysts, pundits, Arsenal fans, tacticians have all agreed on that Arsenal are still two signings away from challenging for the title. Arsenal will need to hunt for a centre-back and a top class striker.
Arsenal will be without defenders Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista for the first few months of the season after both suffered preseason injuries, while Laurent Koscielny will be unavailable for the Liverpool game after having an extended summer vacation. Additionally, Oliver Giroud remains as Arsenal’s only out-and-out striker, as Danny Welbeck will miss the first four months of the season with an injury he suffered at the tail-end of last season. Arsenal have to replace their injured players to have a chance to compete for the illusive Premier League title.
Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny will face stiff competition this year as he will be battling Aaron Ramsey, Granit Xhaka, Francis Coquelin, Jack Wilshere, and Santi Cazorla for a starting position in the middle of the park. However, the Egyptian put in impressive performances throughout preseason, receiving constant praise from the Arsenal faithful.
Elneny has a real chance to start in Arsenal’s Premier League opener against Liverpool this weekend, as Aaron Ramsey will likely be filling Mesut Ozil’s place in the attacking midfield position, as the German has yet to achieve match fitness following an extended vacation.
Jack Wilshere is not expected to be fit for the opener, as he picked up a slight knock in preseason. Wenger may choose not to gamble with Santi Cazorla, as he only recently recovered from the Achilles injury he suffered last season.
Elneny may very well partner new signee and fellow former FC Basel player Granit Xhaka in the middle of the park, as Arsenal look to start their season off on the right foot on the road to an EPL title.