Let's Talk About...Alex Iwobi

A Starter Point

I think it’s only suitable that I start off this section with our very own “Naija Boy”, Alex Iwobi. He’s pretty much our equivalent to a jar of Marmite…You love him or you hate him, and for me it’s a difficult question to answer. I often find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place with Iwobi, I desperately want him to succeed and can see that he has the talent to become a top quality player for us, but there are times where he shows a complete lack of compsure and it just infuriates me, as it probably does for a number of you reading this. 

With this being said, I do want to highlight his positives, before listing what I believe to be the negative aspects of his play. Now, we all remember when he burst onto the scene with his Premier League debut against Everton. What a player we had on our hands, the run down the right-wing and the cheeky nutmeg finish, I could tell that this guy had the confidence to take the league by storm…Even the celebration made an impact!

So…What’s The Problem?

We can’t ignore the fact that his uncle is Jay-Jay Okocha, the man who was so good that they named him twice! He was a phenomenal player, whether it was in a PSG shirt, or even a Bolton shirt! With a player like this as your uncle, you’re going to have pressure on as soon as you step onto the pitch. I can tell that Alex has the potential to become an Arsenal legend if he sticks to it, he’s already making a name for himself with several aspects to his game, but the important features are just not there at the moment. Watching him play every other week allows us to analyse his game in great detail, and the one stand-out factor is his ability to beat a man. Referring back to the confidence I mentioned above, this lad will never shy away from taking on his man, and then the next man if necessary. He’s got the skills, it’s the decision making and end product that he lacks, and that’s what frustrates me so much. 

So, the first hinderance to his game is the decision making that I mentioned. How can one player be so good at taking on his man, but so damn annoying when it comes to passing it on to a teammate?! It doesn’t sit right with me and I’m sure many of you agree…What are we doing on the training ground that takes him away from working on his passing play? This is Arsenal, the home of beautiful football in England. I struggle to convince myself that he’ll get better when every month he’s making the same mistakes, holding on to the ball for an extra 5, 10, 15 seconds, when he could play a simple one-two and be in with a scoring chance. However, this takes me to the second fault in his game…His finishing. I often wonder if the reason that he isn’t playing these simple passes is because he’s too afraid of finishing successfully, because let’s face it, his finishing simply isn’t what it it could and probably should be. There have been plenty of moments when Iwobi has been through on goal, opens up the body ready for a Thierry-esque finish, and plays it straight into the keeper’s arms, or wide of the mark. If he had the confidence to finish these chances, he would be up there with one of our players of the year, no doubt about it. The sheer quality of the goals he would be scoring, paired with the fact that he’s an Arsenal boy through and through, would simply highlight the success of our academy, and we would all be singing his name!

My Closing Opinion

In conclusion, I believe that Alex Iwobi must be showing something in training that he’s yet to show us on the pitch. We keep getting glimpses of what he can do, but the whole package is yet to be displayed. Unai must be seeing something from him throughout each week that gives him the desire to start him week in, week out. Personally, I really want Iwobi to succeed for us, if he works on those few aspects of his game then I will back him 100%, perhaps we just need to give the kid some time to improve? He is only 22 after all. 

I’d be eager to hear your opinions on Alex Iwobi, and urge you to leave any comments you have by using the comments box at the bottom of the post. Stay tuned for more content relating to our players soon!