The FA Cup looks set to provide Mohamed Elneny another chance to impress Arsène Wenger and earn a regular place in the manager’s thoughts.
Since signing for the Gunners in January, his appearances have been limited to the FA Cup tie against Burnley. He has been on the bench for a number of Premier League games but, with his wife giving birth and Francis Coquelin returning, opportunities have been scarce.
On top of all that, Arsenal have generally needed a goal in recent games and the manager has turned to more offensive changes. On Saturday, though, the Egyptian could find himself starting once again.
“Elneny has a good chance to play tomorrow,” Arsène Wenger said on Friday morning. “He’s ready now, he’s worked very hard and it’s a good test for me to see him as well.
“I think he’s fighting now for a regular place in the team and I consider him ready like anybody else.”
The Egyptian midfielder was very impressive on his debut against Burnley, and a follow up performance this weekend would have him firmly in the manager’s thoughts ahead of a busy schedule. The next week sees Arsenal take on Barcelona and Manchester United before the return leg in Spain and a north London derby at the beginning of March.
Wenger is already impressed, so let’s see what Elneny can do. The midfielder is more of a ball player than Francis Coquelin, more defensively minded than Aaron Ramsey and more robust and physical than Santi Cazorla. There’s a little doubt he’s a good addition to the squad, but the next few weeks should give us a better picture of how important he can become.