Tag Archives: Alex Iwobi

Rob Holding, Ben Chilwell & Hector Bellerin

Rob Holding

On the journey home from the game on Monday night, I was following the fall out from the game and the main discussion point was surrounding Rob Holding and a blatant handball in the area.

If given if would have meant a penalty to Leicester and surely a second yellow card for the Arsenal centre back.

Whilst it was a hand ball, it should not have been a penalty.

Everyone is focusing on what Rob Holding did, and not what the Leicester City player did in the lead up when jumping.

In the above still, it is clear and obvious that the Leicester player has his arm on the shoulder of Rob Holding.

The ball is not yet in frame, and the Leicester player has his arm across Holdings neck.

This in turn pulls Holding towards the Leicester player. His arm then bounces off the head of his opponent and towards the ball.

This is an obvious foul. And it is the weight he puts on Holding that unbalances him in the air, causing him to make contact with the ball with his hand.


Ben Chilwell

Arsenal have been linked with the young Leicester left back for a few uses now. He turns 22 in December and his progress from potential to starter has been a little slower than expected.

But against Arsenal, he showed everything he needs to become a full back in Islington.

Quick in attack and capable of putting in a good ball – no Premier League player has put in more crosses this season – he can also defend.

If Monday night was a trial for him to show what he can do, he passes with flying colours.

Would not be upset if he was on our left flank next season.

Hector Bellerin

Talking about full backs, Hector Bellerin has returned to form on the other wing.

Yes, he was caught on his heels a little bit for their first goal. With him being very unlucky with the deflection. But he has looked more solid in recent games.

And that comes down to Alex Iwobi playing ahead of him.

Bellerin at the back looks a different player with a winger in front of him.

More space when going forward, and cover when he is defending.

No longer constantly left in 2 on 1 situations.

Iwobi has grown into the right wing to the point where he is now first choice winger.

Pace, strength and skill put there. Also puts a shift in, covering his full back.

With Reiss Nelson doing bits in Germany, our right flank looks solid for a few years to come



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.