Sometimes, we can be very wrong.
It is easy to do so. Just present a limited amount of examples and evidence and then ask us all to base our presumptions on that.
This has happened with Mo Elneny.
The Egyptian looked very much to be an extraneous player before the start of this season. On loan to Besiktas and never having done anything in an Arsenal shirt to set the world alight – we presumed that he was a solid squad player but not adding much value.
We all did it and none of us have seen his recovery coming.
Elneny’s performance against Man United at Old Trafford was mammoth. We think of Elneny and we think of a 7/10 player. Able to contribute at both ends of the pitch but essentially a solid midfielder who can close out games.
But at Old Trafford, he was so much more.
The difference? Thomas Partey.
A partner in crime can make the difference. During his entire Arsenal stay, Elneny has been paired largely with Granit Xhaka. The Swiss player and the Ghanaian are very different players though, and it seems that Partey’s style has brought the best out of Elneny. The Egyptian won so many loose balls, put in a huge amount of tackles and lo and behold, we discovered he CAN pass forward. And he’s pretty good at it too.
Having Partey alongside him meant that he had the support he needed and it galvanised him. Sometimes it isn’t the playing style that suits. Sometimes it is the mental strength, the motivation that a player has that rubs off on another – and Thomas Partey has that too.
Granit Xhaka is still an integral part of our plans – our win ratio with him in the team tells that story very well – but Elneny can now look forward to a much bigger role in the team. He showed exactly what he is capable of and alongside Partey, completely bossed United’s midfield.
We now have a very healthy central midfield contingent, and Elneny could well make a big difference for us this season.
Well done Mo – you fought so hard to get back in the reckoning.