Mohamed Elneny’s vital goal against Olympiacos on Thursday night was no accident, as the midfielder has specifically been working on his shooting.
Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny certainly took some of the fans by surprise when he blasted one in from distance, to give the team a 3-1 lead in Thursday’s Europa League fixture.
It was a crucial goal in the tie, leaving Olympiacos needing to score three at the Emirates Stadium if they’re going to have any chance of progressing. But Elneny was an unlikely source, only scoring around one goal per year since joining.
Yet Mikel Arteta revealed after the game that it was actually something the 28-year-old had been specifically working on in training.
“With Mo in particular and the subs I’m extremely delighted because I know how much they want to play and they are key in this competition,” Arteta began. “If you want to be successful you need your subs to make an impact. They’ve done it again.”
“Mo in particular because how he’s been training so hard to improve his shooting range with Roundy (assistant manager Steve Round) and he got his reward for the team.”
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) March 11, 2021
It’s easy to forget that a lot of what happens on the pitch comes from more than just individual inspiration in the moment. A lot of the time it’s something the coaches have specifically identified to work on, followed by weeks, months, or years of training.
The result of all that effort was a moment in the spotlight for Elneny and a bit more of a safety net for the second leg.