As Watford trip up Arsenal, Mohamed Elneny is already thrust into the spotlight

Midfielder started for Arsenal and is likely to be under scrutiny due to injuries to frontline midfielders

Mohamed Elneny, Arsenal

Picture by: Adam Davy / PA Archive/Press Association Images

The mood music around Arsene Wenger and Arsenal has darkened again as Watford knocked them out of the FA Cup at the quarter-final stage at a sunny Emirates Stadium.

Second half goals from Odion Ighalo and a brilliant drive from Adlene Guedioura put the Hornets in front, before Danny Welbeck pulled one back for Arsenal two minutes from time.

Welbeck had a great chance to take the game to a replay in the final stages but blazed over unmarked as Arsenal's hopes of retaining the FA Cup for a third straight year ended and Watford advanced to a semi-final and potentially a first final since 1984.

With Arsenal eight points behind Leicester City in the race for the Premier League title and an unlikely positive result away at Barcelona from staying in this season's Champions League, potentially the Gunners' last realistic hope for a trophy evaporated.

But one interesting area to look at from an Arsenal perspective was the performance of midfielder Mohamed Elneny, who was withdrawn as part of a triple substitution with 22 minutes to play.

Elneny after being subbed off Picture by: Adam Davy / PA Wire/Press Association Images

The Egyptian joined the club from FC Basel in January and has been eased into the first team picture, starting at Tottenham last weekend and then today.

His role will prove increasingly vital with Aaron Ramsey sidelined with a hamstring injury and Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere also not back in action yet.

Sitting alongside the terrier-like Francis Coquelin, Elneny was relatively composed on the ball, completing 90 per cent of his passes in the centre of the park and getting 90 touches of the ball, which was the fourth highest for Arsenal.

But that composure was not matched in front of goal, for a player whose goal-rate has increased as he has developed - especially from long-range.

When Ramsey plays, the Welshman is never shy of taking a shot or driving into the box as a late runner, but his injury will rob Arsenal of that threat for the forthcoming weeks.

Elneny provides more stability defensively as a tidier option, but was not shy of making attempts towards goal today, although accuracy was lacking as just one of his four shots hit the target.

He will need to improve that aspect of his game, as Coquelin won't be providing much forward threat at a time of the season when Arsenal must go all-out to reel in Leicester and Tottenham before it's too late - and before Ramsey, Wilshere and Cazorla become available again.