The Premier League is set to resume on Boxing Day with Arsenal still setting the pace at the top of the table. However, the Gunners have been dealt a blow by the news of an injury to striker Gabriel Jesus. Although the return of Mohamed Elneny may go some way to boost Arsenal’s title hopes once again.
Arsenal have had a superb start to the season, among the best in Premier League history after winning twelve of their opening fourteen fixtures, drawing one and losing one at Old Trafford to Man United in early September.
The Gunners currently sit five points clear of second-place and current champions Man City. The two clubs are yet to meet this season after the first game scheduled between the pair was postponed due to the passing of the Queen a few months ago.
Arsenal and Egypt star Mohamed Elneny was ruled out for the opening part of the season through injury sustained just before the season began. Initially, there were fears that Elneny would be sidelined for the majority of the season, such was the first impression of the knock.
However, his recovery has gone extremely well, so much so that he was able to appear in some Europa League games just before the World Cup break.
His return will alleviate some of the immediate pressure to recruit a central-midfielder in the January transfer window, where it was thought Arsenal needed to buy as this was an area of the squad they are particularly light in.
Instead, some of the funds initially allocated to signing a midfielder can be shifted towards funding a forward acquisition, especially in light of the aforementioned injury to key player Gabriel Jesus. The Brazilian has transformed the Gunners since his arrival from Man City in the summer, contributing to ten league goals but also bringing much more to the team than just end-product.
His absence is bound to be sorely felt by Arsenal, and thus shifting the allocation of funds from a midfielder over to a forward makes more sense, especially considering the Gunners find themselves in such a good position to win their first league title since 2004.
And Elneny’s return gives them the ability to do just so as we’ve seen him put in some superb performances alongside Granit Xhaka or Thomas Partey in a good few matches, including in victories against fellow ‘Big Six’ clubs.
Arsenal have been linked with a host of forwards for the upcoming January window, namely Joao Felix, Dusan Vlahovic and Mykhailo Mudryk, with the latter being the most strongly reported to be joining the Gunners.
They face West Ham on Boxing Day as they aim to carry on where they left off prior to the World Cup break.