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Arsenal player who Unai Emery wanted gone is proving ‘tremendous’ under Mikel Arteta – TBR View

Arsenal v Aston Villa - Premier League
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Arsenal

Arsenal player who Unai Emery wanted gone is proving ‘tremendous’ under Mikel Arteta – TBR View

Arsenal are enduring a mixed season to say the least, with a fair few highs but also plenty of lows.

In the Europa League, the Gunners have made light work of their group, cruising into the last 32 following six wins out of six in Group B.

However, the Premier League is proving a bit of a nightmare so far, with Mikel Arteta’s charges a lowly 15th in the table with just 10 goals scored.

(Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images)

Likewise, some players are having complete shockers this season, while others are shining and earning plenty of plaudits from fans.

Arguably the most surprising of those in the latter camp is Mohamed Elneny, a player who few expected to make such a triumphant return to the squad.

Last year, former Arsenal boss Unai Emery effectively urged Elneny, as well as Shkodran Mustafi, to leave the club.

“I want the players to be happy here, I want the players to be protagonists here, and last year, for example, with Mustafi and Mo, when they didn’t play, they weren’t happy,” he told Sky Sports.

“I spoke with them a lot of times last year in this position and I think it is positive for them to leave and to sign for another team where they can be protagonists, they can be happy and can continue their careers as players.”

Elneny did just that, albeit on a temporary basis, joining Besiktas on a season-long loan, and he became a mainstay of their squad, making 36 appearances in all competitions.

 

Of those, 27 came in the Superlig, the Egypt international scoring one goal and registering four assists as the Black Eagles finished third in the table to seal Champions League qualification.

Despite his success in Turkey, few fans thought Elneny could win his place back in the Arsenal squad, given he’d been a fringe player during much of his time on the club’s books.

However, Arteta gave the £50,000-a-week man a chance in pre-season and he took it superbly, going on to become an important squad member.

Arsenal FC v Dundalk FC: Group B - UEFA Europa League

(Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

On Thursday night, Elneny made his 13th appearance of the season, starting against Dundalk, and once again he put in a solid midfield display complete with a sensational goal.

The Egyptian doubled the visitors’ lead with a long-range effort from outside the box which soared into the top-left corner of the opposition net.

Elneny has been so impressive that there’s even been talk of him getting a contract extension, though Arteta suggested in November that it was too early for contract talks with players.

However, the Spaniard is clearly delighted with the player, and even described him as “tremendous” following his role in the 1-0 win at Manchester United.

“What Mo transmits to the team is special,” said Arteta at the time. “He has this energy as a person.

“He goes in the room and he creates that atmosphere. Today I said that we needed that energy and that positive feeling that he brings all the time. I think he was tremendous.”

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