Although Wenger has had a fair bit of stick in some quarters, including from me, about his decision to try Elneny at centre back, I think even the detractors have to admit the Egyptian’s performance against Sevilla in the Emirates Cup was impressive at times.
On the plus side, Elneny’s distribution was excellent, as was his reading of the game and timely interceptions. He can even tackle a bit, so what’s not to like?
Well, Elneny does have a tendency to go on the rampage when Arsenal attack, leaving a void to be filled by a team-mate. As long as that’s the case, it shouldn’t cause significant problems, as Elneny coming forward with the ball may cause more problems for opponents than it will for Arsenal.
However, we must remember (how could we forget?) that the game ended as a defeat for Arsenal. Therefore, how could that be a blueprint for success? My answer would be that Sevilla provided a decent test and the fact that Elneny performed well in a losing team augurs well.
To my mind, the defeat was caused by other Arsenal players not rising to the challenge. Ozil, for example, was virtually invisible and, to be fair, he was not the only Arsenal player who went AWOL.
Nevertheless, I was a bit surprised that some critics had their knives out for Willock, who acquitted himself well initially before fading out of the game.
The same people reckoned Arsenal should buy the relatively immobile N’Zonzie, presumably because he scored the winner. Granted, it was a great strike, but the midfielder strolled around, not contributing much else. I really can’t see how he could fit into an Arsenal team, unless it’s decided that one passenger (I think you know who I’m think of!) is not enough.
Meanwhile, I was quiet disappointed to find that Martinez had been loaned out to Getafe. I suppose it’s the right decision, as the Argentinian will get plenty of minutes under his belt, but I would have installed him as Cech’s back-up, ahead of Ospina. However, from a long-term perspective, it makes sense for Martinez to accumulate as much game time as possible, so I’d have to reluctantly agree that it’s another good decision by Wenger.