Arsenal’s win over Man Utd could come at a cost for two of Mikel Arteta’s FA Cup heroes

Arsenal finally ended their winless run in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday, beating Manchester United 1-0 to end a 14-year wait for a victory at the Theatre of Dreams. Summer signings Thomas Partey and Gabriel Magalhaes both could have staked a claim of being man of the match after fine performances. But many Arsenal supporters were taken aback by the showing from Mohamed Elneny.

Elneny spent last season on loan at Besiktas and his future with the Gunners looked to be a bleak one.

With Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi at the club when pre-season began, it would have taken a brave man to bet on Elneny starting four of the first seven Premier League games so far this term.

But Mikel Arteta saw something in the 28-year-old that made him think he would be a more valuable asset for his side going forward than Torreira and Guendouzi, allowing the duo to join Atletico Madrid and Hertha Berlin respectively.

Elneny will never be a spectacular midfielder who can win Arsenal a game out of nothing.

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But the Egyptian is a reliable member of Arteta’s squad who can put in the work rate the Spaniard desires.

A clip went viral following Sunday’s win, showing Elneny sprinting to press the United players in second-half stoppage time, proving he has the stamina and will to succeed.

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That should be a given for any footballer but is something Arsenal have missed in recent years.

And alongside Partey, Arteta may have stumbled across his preferred midfield duo.

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But what does that mean for the future of Xhaka and Ceballos?

After lockdown earlier this year, the two were Arteta’s regular pairing in central midfield and were key to last season’s FA Cup success.

But the performance of Elneny alongside Partey may mean one, or both, will struggle to regain a regular spot in the Premier League side.

Onlookers may think a midfield of Partey and Elneny lacks creativity and goals.

That is true, but Xhaka and Ceballos are not exactly pulling up trees in that department either.

In a combined 55 Premier League games last term, Xhaka and Ceballos contributed just one goal and four assists between them.

The arrival of Partey also allows Arteta to play a different formation, as was seen at Old Trafford.

Arteta is more willing to play with a back four with Partey in the side and using Bukayo Saka as the creative force from midfield.

There are plenty of games for Xhaka and Ceballos to feature in from now until the end of the season.

But the emergence of Elneny will surely mean they face a fight to win back their starting spot.

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