Arsenal could have been staring at a shock exit from the Europa League on Thursday night had it not been for the quality of Mohamed Elneny.
The Egyptian international has not always been a regular starter in Arsene Wenger’s team, but he proved in Russia that he is an important cog in the machine.
Following a few days of dramatic results in Europe, specifically Barcelona’s collapse against Roma in the Champions League quarter-finals, Arsenal came close to suffering a similar fate.
The Gunners headed into the second leg with a 4-1 lead from the contest at the Emirates, but they were 2-0 down in Russia after 50 minutes.
Had CSKA hit the back of the net for a third time without reply then they would have progressed into the semi-finals on away goals.
However, Arsenal prevented that from happening thanks to Elneny, who fed the ball to Danny Welbeck.
The striker slotted it home, and in the closing stages of the contest Elneny, who signed a new contract in March, was involved again as Aaron Ramsey scored a delightful chip.
It is safe to say that Arsenal fans were impressed with Elneny’s display.
#Elneny has really progressed nicely since joining. He’s impacting games and is starting to have a presence. Just hope the complacency of a new contract doesn’t have a negative impact on his progression #arsenal #afc #gunners
— Burnley Pingu (@burnleypingu) April 13, 2018
Elneny has been putting in some fantastic performances, Xhaka and him starting together could provide some much needed stability in European games, allowing the other CM to move forward freely. Very happy for the man. Well deserved contract! #AFC #Elneny
— Nachiket Kelkar (@KelkarNachi) April 13, 2018
Ive been saying this for a long time now but Elneny is the unsung hero of this team and he must be a regular for me as puts in a shift every game he plays and keeps it simple and Very RARELY loses possession #afc #arsenal
— Richard Allen (@allen_gunners) April 12, 2018
In a game where we clearly missed Xhaka – Elneny was superb AGAIN tonight. 2 assists. Always wanting the ball. Was everywhere. Worked his arse off. Very rarely lets us down. Such an underrated player IMO. #AFC
— Grovesy (@Grov_esy) April 12, 2018
Has to be #Elneny 's best game. Unlucky his header earlier was OS, but what a second half with two assists! Elneny is slowly becoming that midfield enforcer we've needed to show up. Welbeck and Ramsey show up to score #COYG #CSKAvAFC #Arsenal #afc #EuropaLeague
— arsenal-talk (@gunners4all) April 12, 2018
That Elneny's pass. I mean well, the first one, chills, absolute chills. Ruler couldn't draw that line. The second one just switched off the defence. This guy is electric recently, mad impressed by the boys all round for the morale for the comeback #afc
— Thierry Jae Henry (@Ogheneyxle) April 12, 2018
— Sakhisizwe mbuyane⬜ (@SRmbuyane1) April 12, 2018
— Mr. Alexander (@Dmatterarising) April 12, 2018
Amazing how a player many so called fans wrote off as a flop & a waste of wages has suddenly become integral to all that's good about the club….
If he wore 10 & was English I wonder how many would've been so quick to right off such a quality player!
— Kris Carpenter (@AFCfreddie8) April 12, 2018