The Nigerian international Alex Iwobi has divided Arsenal fans as much as Mesut Ozil in the last couple of years since Arsene Wenger promoted the youngster to the first team squad. He has always looked lively during games, but he is known for going just one tackle too many and losing the ball, or taking a wild shot and sending the ball into orbit.
But he was inexplicably started by Unai Emery against Chelsea at the expense of Aaron Ramsey, and he, even more surpringly, played extremely well and provided an assist as well as blasting one past Chelsea’s very expensive goalkeeper to get Arsenal back on level terms before the break. Iwobi told the media after the match how the team felt during the half-time team talk. “We were on a high,” Iwobi said. “The message was to keep it going, keep our head and don’t lose ourselves. We fought hard for him.
“We enjoy training, everyone is buying into his ideas. It all takes time, a new manager, a new system and the fans and players know that.”
Arsenal tried hard to keep themselves in the game, but in the end a piece of magic from Eden Hazard found Alonso in the box to break the Gunners hearts, but one of the big positives was Iwobi’s performance. Many of us have been hoping that Emery can improve our players after too many years of Wenger’s instructions, and maybe Iwobi is only the first example of that starting to happen.
Who would have thought that dropping Ramsey for Iwobi would have proved such a spectacular success?