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Mohamed Elneny: Man of the Match in Moscow

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The midfielder was Arsenal’s unsung hero

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Arsenal v Southampton - Premier League Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Arsenal gave their supporters a bit of a scare in Moscow. The Gunners held a commanding 4-1 lead heading in to the second leg. The team looked flat, however, and found themselves down 2-0 after 50 minutes played. Just one more goal by CSKA and they would go through on away goals. Fortunately, this nightmare scenario did not come to fruition.

Part of the reason Arsenal are heading on to the semifinals is the play of Mohamed Elneny. The often overlooked Egyptian midfielder was easily the Man of the Match. His stats from the game:

  • 66 of 79 passes completed
  • 21 for 24 attacking third passes
  • 2 out of 3 successful tackles
  • 3 clearances
  • 2 assists

His first assist was vitally important in Arsenal’s victory. He and Welbeck combined brilliantly in the 75th minute. With the Gunners on the attack, Welbeck passed to Elneny who then provided the striker with the perfect ball to slot home. The tension was lifted and any fear of a monumental collapse was over.

Elneny and Ramsey ensured that Arsenal would not lose on the night with a thing of beauty in added time. With CSKA chasing the match Elneny delivered a precision pass through to the Welshman who took his time and chipped the ball over keeper Igor Akinfeev.

Elneny has not been an automatic first team player. However, his solid performances are what led the Londoners to offer him a new contract last month.

Elneny became the first Egyptian player to record two assists in a European game since Mohamed Salah did the same for Basel in November 2012.