Alex Iwobi (17)



The atmosphere towards the end of the Arsène Wenger years was tainted by negativity, which was not all down to the former manager – rather the broader situation around him and the yearning for change among a large section of the fanbase.

One of the consequences was an extreme lack of patience. If the team fell behind in matches, the players would not want to make mistakes and, invariably, they chose not to take risks. The result could be inertia; an inability to make comebacks.

Interesting extract from the guardian article.

One of the reason where I do agree that it was time for a change in Wenger’s last 2-3 seasons.


Lol. That last alinea. Wenger was making the same mistakes for like 8 years or so. Obviously patience was gone.


When did I say patience was not gone?


To me Iwobi (and some degree Bellerin perhaps) is a case more of “worried he won’t take the next step.” I think he and a few others really are cases where I believe he was stagnating under Wenger.

New management, ideas, instruction, and a fresh start have done him wonders. Looking that way with Bellerin to a lesser degree too.

I do t think Iwobi was ever in the “Xhaka” bin for example. I have (rightly or wrongly) concluded that Xhaka simply doesn’t have the basic mental ingredients to succeed in a team at Arsenal’s level. But Iwobi was more a case of increasing worry that it was missed opportunity instead.

I will say that in the youth ranks he wasn’t one that really stuck out to me, and I used to try to watch as much footage of youth As I could. AMN, RN, more recently the other youngsters who have made FT squad some, as well as a few others who have since faded stuck out more to me than Iwobi. It really goes to show how hard it is to predict from youth ranks at a club like Arsenal and that it is numbers game.

Players like Cesc were just born geniuses who would flourish under any management that didn’t stifle, but most young players need more. It is great sign for Emery that he has the young lads improving.


Exactly what I meant by praising Wenger. When he first came into picture in Arsenal pre season, I doubt anyone predicted how far Iwobi would go with Arsenal. Wenger really saw beyond the performance that Iwobi was giving because not a single person (george bird for instance) ever mentioned Iwobi as someone to look for.


Every young player needs some guidance no matter how good they are IMO.

Cesc grew up in a team of Patrick Vieira, Sol Campbell and Theirry Henry. Not to mention the others. He had all the guidance on the pitch and more!


Some of our players weren’t crap under Wenger. They just needed a new manager to work with.


To some degree true - the players helped… but I think little geniuses like him take far less work to cultivate than someone like Iwobi, Bellerin, or really almost any talented youth player for that matter.


He gave other players chances too and they didn’t work out… it is a numbers game. yeah, he deserves some credit for seeing something most didn’t immediately recognize in him, but he also gave opportunities to other youngsters and they didn’t - in some cases persisting with them too long… and fact is, he didn’t really develop the way we hoped (hence our trepidation) until Wenger was gone (obviously also worth remembering the sample size we are praising for him now is pretty small).

Iwobi clearly had ingredients and pedigree - he is in the same gene pool as the creative genius plying his trade earlier at Bolton, it just didn’t seem like he was taking progressive steps until now.

Anyway, let’s enjoy the fact that under Emery we are actually seeing PROGRESSION - and this applies to results as well as some specific cases of young players developing nicely (it seems). Bottom line is for us to truly compete with City and Chelsea and Pool and ManU consistently, we are going to need every bit of our collective arsenal working well towards getting the best possible squad every year.


That’s not true though because there were times in those first 100 games where he did demonstrate that promise. I distinctly remember him being a better playmaker than Ozil in certain games.

No one thought Iwobi was the stand out talent in our youth teams either and were surprised Wenger brought him through at the expense of Akpom and co.


This is revisionism. No one thought Iwobi would make it in the first team when he was a youth player. We had way more hyper youngsters who didn’t make it to even Championship level. And Wenger got lots of criticism for picking Iwobi over certain players who have ended up in the Championship or lower.


From what I can recall, Iwobi’s promotion to the first team surprised most people. I remember him being a name I was familiar with but that’s about it.

He was hit and miss to begin with, but showed good dribbling skills and there was a bit more enthusiasm about his part in the first team. However, even at this point, I think most people were still skeptical of his chances of being at the club long-term, and were waiting for him to break out.

After his relatively bright start, Wenger seemed to persist with him despite Iwobi being average at best for the majority of matches, and definitely didn’t demonstrate the sort of quality you expect from an attacking midfielder starting for a (wannabe) top four club in England. That initial promise (however short-lived) seemed a distant memory and it wasn’t even though he was a wonderkid to begin with.

Look at him now and he is without doubt playing the best football of his career, and doing stuff I didn’t think he was capable of.

Based on all of the above, he clearly is a talented player who couldn’t translate his performances on the training pitch to competitive games. Wenger persisted with him but couldn’t get him to make the step up.
However, it seems with Emery’s help, he’s overcoming that and is performing at a very good level right now.

I was happy to bin him in the summer and was really shocked at the contract extension. Glad to be proven wrong even if I did say that a lot of players might very well improve under a new coach, and might have just been stagnating under Wenger.


Well it is true because I was stating my own opinion. You’re free to disagree with that and yea, sure, at times he showed glimpses of his promise but I’m talking about my perception over those hundred games as a whole and comparing that to what he has shown this season. He’s certainly never had the consistent spell like he’s had this season before.


How is my post revisionism? All I said is that there wasn’t an overwhelming majority who assessed him as being championship level. I didn’t say everyone rated him highly, that everyone saw this development coming, that people rated him higher than other youngsters we had at the time or anything like what’s contained in your post.

I feel like you have read what you wanted to read because you had a point you wanted to make.


You took afront to it being said ‘Wenger picked a gem when everyone thought he’d be a Championship player’ when in fact no one expected he would be PL standard when he was in the youth team. Allot of managers wouldn’t have brought Iwobi through.


I think Iwobi has put some muscle in over the summer as he’s looking stronger and maybe even quicker. He’s holding onto the ball a bit longer too with his runs so his confidence is up.

But last season he was one of our better creative players averaging 1.4 chances created per game, which is actually better than this season so far and the same number Paul Pogba had.


Well done for correctly identifying the one thing I was responding to, its good you got something right.




That doesn’t mean he was good though. We were atrocious going forward last season for the most part.