Arsenal fans everywhere will be hoping that the illness which kept the German international play maker out of the new years day win over Crystal Palace is only a short lived thing and that Mesut Ozil will be back in the Arsenal starting XI tomorrow when the Gunners make the trip south to face AFC Bournemouth.
If not though, Arsene Wenger is likely to be less worried about the absence of Ozil than he might have been before, because our young Nigerian star Alex Iwobi had an impressive game in the number 10 role against Palace and the boss was quick to praise the 20-year old Arsenal academy graduate in the post match comments reported by the Arsenal website.
It was not just the fact that Iwobi scored the second goal which gave us breathing space and probably dampened the opposition’s hopes of a fightback that so pleased his manager, but his all round game which contained great vision, movement, desire and technical ability.
Wenger said, “I believe he is always available, quick in his movement, wants the ball, can hold people off. People forget he’s 20 years old. I think he had a very good game – on top of that, now he starts to score goals. His quality of pass, of availability, is exceptional for a young boy. He lacked a bit of quality of [receptiveness] in dangerous areas and I hope that these goals he scores now will give him the taste as well to go where he can finish it off. There are always signs when a guy starts to score goals in training that they’ll come in games, and he has that. Now in training he starts to score goals. I’m sure he will score as well in the games.”
The lack of goals from Iwobi and what seemed to be a somewhat rushed approach to finishing was the main complaint but as the boss pointed out he is still very young. Ozil himself has often been criticised for his own goal tally so I do not think we should be too hard on the youngster.
Have Arsenal now got a good enough option for Ozil?