Mikel Arteta answered his critics by outwitting Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford as Arsenal edged Manchester United 1-0. It was a performance which suggests the Gunners are closed that United to returning to their former glories under the Spaniard.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted the crucial winner from the spot after Paul Pogba brought down Hector Bellerin in the box.
While it was a close encounter, Arsenal were largely in control of proceedings much to the stability of their new 3-4-3 system, brought in by Arteta.
Thomas Partey has given Arsenal a new dimension in midfield but there was another cog who proved key in earning all three points.
That was Mohamed Elneny, who is now an unlikely hero at the Emirates Stadium having spent last season on loan at Besiktas.
The 28-year-old was since pressing like a madman during stoppage time before eventually forcing Victor Lindelof to run the ball out of play.
The clip ended up going viral with Arsenal legend Ian Wright among those to praise Elneny for his incredible performance.
Arteta is now in a position where he simply cannot drop Elneny, given his recent performance.
While he may earn a chance to rest, Elneny is expected to feature in Arteta’s first-choice XI.
He captained Arsenal in the Europa League win over Dundalk on Thursday and many were surprised to see him in the starting line up at Old Trafford.
The decision highlights Arteta’s faith in him and now he looks set to form a formidable partnership with Partey in the middle of the park.
It was something former Arsenal defender Martin Keown picked up on after the game.
“It was in midfield where Arsenal took control of the game, and that was mainly down to Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny,” Keown said.
“The Gunners have struggled in that area in the past, but Partey is looking like a very good signing and Elneny has made such an improvement that it feels like he is a new addition too.
“Elneny appeared to be on his way out of the club before Arteta took charge at the end of last year. I like the way Arteta has given him another opportunity – and also how the Egyptian has taken it.
“It is still early days, but Partey and Elneny worked really well together here and it could be the start of a really productive partnership, at least in the short term.”
This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently, see more details here