Tag Archives: Alex Iwobi

Thoughts: Mesut Ozil & Alex Iwobi

Mesut Ozil

During the World Cup, I wrote about Mesut Ozil’s relationship with the German media, authorities and fans.

My opinion at the time was a simple one, that Ozil was continually singled out for Germany for criticism because he is different. That whilst the likes of Thomas Muller, Joshua Kimmich and Manuel Neuer continually escape criticism for poor performances, Ozil is criticised even when he does not play badly.

I felt at the time that due to the racist undertone of comments from the likes of Lothar Matthäus, that Ozil might call it a day with the German national team. And yesterday he did just that:

Mesut Ozil has won 92 caps for Germany. He is a World Cup winner. A 5 time German Footballer of the Year. He is clearly a class act.

The abuse of Ozil is similar to what Raheem Sterling gets in England.

It is not overtly racist, but when negative articles are written about you for buying a house for your mum, or going for breakfast the morning after a defeat, it creates a nasty little undertone.

We saw similar last week with Dean Saunders attack on Alexandre Lacazette for TalkSPORT.

The former Liverpool striker said Lacazette is more interested in fast cars and fur coats than playing football. That he needs to be more like Harry Kane and become more professional.

Taking into account that it is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang that likes the fast cars and fur coats, the attack by Saunders had racist undertones.

It reinforced racial stereotypes that young, successful black men are flashy. That they are more interest in cars and coats than playing football. That they are simple not as professional as their white colleagues.

The attack came out of nowhere, and merely highlighted Dean Saunders prejudice and poor journalism

Ozil retiring for Germany will be a good thing for Arsenal. We just need to make sure we get around him, show him the love and support he needs so that he performs for us.

He has always been an emotional character. One that needs an arm around him, to be shown love to play well. He has never been one to be motivated by criticism.

Ozil is an Arsenal player. Let’s get behind him.

Alex Iwobi

The second piece of Arsenal news over the weekend was Alex Iwobi.

Firstly it broke that Lazio were interested in signing him in a £20million deal, then it was that he had agreed a new contract until 2022.

When the first pice of news broke, many people were happy.

Iwobi is simply not rated by many fans. He has not really progressed from the timid teenager who looked like a deer in headlights when he first broke through.

Personally, I did not want him sold, I want to see him for another year under Unai Emery. But £20million is a lot to turn down. If a figure like that came in, I would accept.

A chat about racism again.

Some fans came out and claimed that other Arsenal wanting Iwobi sold was racist. Comparing it to the Jack Wilshere situation, even to the Ozil situation. This is just rubbish.

People wanted Iwobi to be sold because they felt he was not good enough. A perfectly valid opinion. It has nothing to do with his skin colour, or being born in Nigeria.

To a lot of the older generation, Rocky Rocastle was a hero. To my generation it was Thierry Henry. It reminds me of when that journalist claims that Highbury was a “no-go zone” in the early 2000’s.

It is lazy to always attack any criticism as racism.

If Iwobi does stay, I hope he kicks on. There is a good player in there, I am sure of it. He just needs the confidence in himself to realise that and break out.

He is 22 now, so a loan deal is not suitable.

With the likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson pushing to break through, Iwobi needs to up his game if he wants to stay at Arsenal long term.



Arsenal youngster set to be breakout World Cup star

I have been thinking about this blog since Alex Iwobi’s delightful performance for Nigeria against England.

In that game he came to the fore in the second half.

From the pass he played in the lead up to his own delightful finish, he ran England ragged, dictating the game.

During that game, I turned to a friend and asked “if he was English, would he be going to the World Cup”. The consensus was probably not, but then Gareth Southgate did pick Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

It was not just the play in the led up to the goal, but his entire performance in that second half.

Given a freedom that he does not get at Arsenal due to Mesut Ozil, he drifted around the pitch becoming Nigeria’s version of Arsenal’s German.

He dropped deep to pick up the ball, was on the left wing, the right win, and in the middle. He did not shy away from dictating play, the same way Ozil does for Arsenal.

Without the liability to defend, or track back, he revelled in the freedom putting in one of the best performances I have seen from him.

Moving forward to the World Cup, he will be given the same role for Nigeria. The freedom of being the creator. The main man.

Often short of confidence, playing like he is in awe of those around him at Arsenal, almost as if he does not believe he deserves to be in the red & white, he looked comfortable in the Green of the Eagles.

This World Cup could make him believe in himself. Beleive that he does belong. That he is good enough. It might lead to the end of his timid performances.

If (and it is a big if) he is one of the break through players of the World Cup, dragging Nigeria through to the knock out stages, he will return to Islington a different player. A more confident player. A player that finally realises how much talent he is.

It is easy to forget that he is still just 22. He is 4 months younger than Loftus-Cheek.

Whilst the media and fans are still talking about the on-loan Chelsea mans potential, they are writing off Alex Iwobi.

The same people saying that Loftus-Cheek should be given a chance next season to compete for a place in the Chelsea squad are also saying that Alex Iwobi should not be anywhere near the Arsenal squad.

Now I know some of you will immediately say “but Loftus Cheek was at Crystal Palace” and you are correct to bring that up.

Being at Palace is why Loftus Cheek got through move defensive work than Iwobi.

In terms of attack, Loftus-Cheek was Crystal Palace’s main creator, whilst Iwobi was usually number two (or at times number 3) on the pitch behind Ozil and Alexis Sanchez or Henrik Mkhitaryan.

I wonder how many more goals and assists Iwobi would have got if play went through him at Arsenal like it will for Nigeria?

It is also interesting to note that Alex Iwobi got the same amount of goals (3) and just to assists less (5 v 7) than Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The Nigerian also had vastly better passing than his former team mate.

Iwobi averaging 48 completed passes per 90 minutes at 87% completion rate against Oxlade-Chamberlain’s 31 passes at 81%.

So Iwobi – who many will say had a poor season – had a similar season in terms of output as OXlade-Chamberlain – who many said had a good season; His best season ever.

I am not saying he will become world class, nut he is still young and still has some improvement ahead of him, but he could be one of the break out players of the World Cup. He wil lcertainly go into my Fantasy Football team.

If he is given a staring role for Nigeria this summer, he will come back to Arsenal a more confident player.

He is more than good enough to be back up Mesut Ozil, Henrik Mkhitaryan and perhaps one more.



Jack Wilshere, Alex Iwobi, Transfer Gossip, Retro Kits and More

Jack Wilshere

Everything seems to have gone quiet with regard to his contract.

I feel his time at Arsenal could be up.

The fact that he was heavily linked with the likes Wolves and West Ham over the weekend probably shows his level.

Alex Iwobi

Delightful performance by Iwobi for Nigeria. The pass and then the finish, he was heavily involved as the Eagles went down 2-1 to England.

What was most impressive for me was they way he went deep to get the ball, and did not shy away from attempting to dictate the play.

I am not saying he will become world class, but it is easy to forget he is just 22. If he is given a staring role for Nigeria this summer, he will come back to Arsenal a more confident player.

He is more than good enough to back up Mesut Ozil, Henrik Mkhitaryan and one more.

Transfer Gossip

The gossip season is full swing.

In the last few days we have been linked with Ousmane Dembele, Abdoulaye Doucouré, Steven N’Zonzi, Jasper Cillessen, Benjamin Pavard, Yacine Adli & Gelson Martins.

I could probably find more names if I could be bothered to look.

As we learn with Luis Suarez, Gonzalo Higuain and more recently with Sokratis (it all seems to have gone quiet) it is not a done deal until you see the player with the shirt.

Do not believe the attention seekers on twitter, or the journalists who a fabricating stories for clicks.

Luckily it will not be a long summer, as the window shuts on the eve of the Premier League season.

Emmanuel Petit

I took some hammering for calling him a rent-a-quote gobshite in yesterday’s blog. I stick with what I said and challenge anyone to disagree with my criticism of his comments.

Petit criticised Arsenal for “only signing youngsters in the last 15 years”. This is plainly wrong and highlights what he was saying was without knowledge.

Since 2012 we have signed:


You can complain about the quality of some of these, but not their age or experience.

We have certainly moved away from the mid 00’s policy of buying young, and the above makes the obvious.

Petit was speaking without knowledge. Like when he mentioned the £60m budget.

I guess what sums up the situation is one critic of my blog said “people ask for Petit’s opinion…and not yours”.

You are right outlets do ask for Petit’s opinion, because they know it will give them a quote and headline for a story. He is a rent-a-quote.

Retro Kits

Unwilling to pay the £64.95 for the official kit? Following the trend of wearing old school retro kits from the 80s and 90s?

We have followed the success of the She Wore Shop (exclusive Arsenal merchandise) site and The Arsenal Shirts (real old school Arsenal shirts, signed and match worn) with a new venture, Retro Kits.

We have brand new England Shirts, used England items, National shirts from all round the world and finally classic shirts and kits from club teams. We have around 4500 items to add to the site, so it is still very much a work in progress