Arsenal’s signing of Mohamed Elneny is being touted as all but complete by Sky Sports, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for Arsene Wenger’s injury ridden squad. While it may seem like a signing is the cure to all the ills that have ailed Arsenal this season, Elneny will need a proper set up to flourish, and here we take a look at how he can help the Gunners reach the hallowed Premier League title.
We take a look at the stats of the following players (via the Squawka Comparison Matrix) with the respective seasons in brackets: Mikel Arteta (2012/13), Aaron Ramsey (2012/13), Francis Coquelin (2014/15) and Mohamed Elneny (2015/16). The players have been chosen mainly from the central midfield role, with Arteta and Ramsey’s last full seasons in central roles coming in 2012/13, while Coquelin had his break out season in the DM role in 2014/15. This analysis also bears in mind that Elneny’s stats are from only five games, which represents a small space to analyse – not to mention they’re from the Europa League, which is considered an inferior competition. Per 90 metrics have been used to try and make sure that relations can be drawn between player roles.
As is evident from the Squawka Comparison Matrix, Elneny is ahead of any of our players in the passing per 90 statistics, with 90 passes attempted per game and an accuracy of 92%. The next best comes from Mikel Arteta, who completed about 80 passes per game with an accuracy of 91% back in the 2012/13 season. Elneny also has the highest average pass length of any of the midfielders chosen for this comparison at an astonishing 20.8m; Arteta again comes second with an average pass length of 17.44m. Both these figures are way ahead of the other midfielders Arsenal have employed in the holding or defensive midfield role previously.
When we consider the shooting numbers for these players, we see that Elneny at 1.8 shots per game is only marginally behind Aaron Ramsey, who leads the pack at 1.97. The Welshman is well known for getting into shooting positions and went on to have his break out goalscoring season the following year in 2013/14, scoring 10 goals in the Premier League (via Whoscored.com).
Defensive contributions unsurprisingly see Francis Coquelin grab a huge lead in both tackles won and interceptions made per 90, but Elneny is no slouch here either. His interceptions per 90 number is 2 – higher than Aaron Ramsey – and even though his tackles won are the lowest in the sample taken here at 1.8 per game, once he is in the team this number will surely increase with training and game time.
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With Mathieu Flamini and Aaron Ramsey an awkward combination in the Arsenal midfield, Elneny could realistically be used to replace either of them at some point in the future. Flamini isn’t getting any younger and Ramsey will need a break some time towards the end of January having played a number of games on the trot since coming back from injury, so Elneny should get his chance. Calum Chambers may have been touted as an internal solution, but Elneny obviously has more experience than Chambers and will bring a better passing range into the team. Moreover, his overall statistics point towards the fact that he can play a number of roles on the pitch, including setting the tempo with his passing and letting fly the occasional long range strike. Wenger is a known fan of players who have a multi faceted skill set and Elneny looks increasingly like the signing to give Arsenal a much needed boost in the race for the title this season.
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