Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has thrown down the gauntlet for Alex Iwobi to find the lost piece of his game by upgrading his scoring tactics, especially because he has developed nervousness within the 18-yard box. The Nigerian international played in the No. 10 role on Tuesday night in their 2-nil win against Reading in the EFL Cup tie. Wenger said he watched the midfielder linking play with his teammates smartly, as soccer lines adjusted their odds to reflect the superb performance by the London club.
Over the years, attacking midfielders at Arsenal have always desired to be accorded the roaming role just behind the striker, and Iwobi seemed to have displayed a performance that would trigger the manager to cement his presence in that position. However, the current obstacle for Iwobi is Mesut Ozil, who Wenger prefers over others in the No. 10 position. Even though Iwobi had an impressive all-round performance against Reading, he could not convert any goal. At least one goal could convince Wenger that he is ripe to replace Ozil in that position.
When Oliver Giroud came in as a substitute, he set up Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain superbly on 74 minutes with a perfect pass, but Reading’s goalie, Ali Al-Habsi, read the ball and punched it away from the danger zone. The ball landed on Iwobi’s path like manna from heaven to offer him a big chance of scoring his third goal for Arsenal. However, instead of taking a first-time shot, he mistimed his stride to make the ball stick under his studs. So far, the Nigerian international has only scored two goals for his side.
Wenger expressed that the 20-year-old does not have the characteristics of playing as a winger, but he has the potential to take up the No. 10 role because he can push other players forward. Furthermore, his passes through the lines are well-timed and accurate, meaning he has what it takes to make perfect passes to other players. Wenger added all the positives endowed to Iwobi, the midfielder need to work on his finishing capturing an all-round talent. He has to tone down his nervousness, especially when he is in a good position to score.
After 898 days, Carl Jenkinson made an emotional return to Arsenal when he played in the EFL Cup against Reading. For the last two seasons, the right back has been on loan at West Ham United during which he suffered an injury on his cruciate knee ligament in January. He resumed his defensive duties for the first time after recovering fully from the injury. Jenkinson expressed his joy saying Arsenal even though he has been out on loan for two years. He added that he has always wanted to improve his game elsewhere and come back to his club ready to play superbly.
Even though the right back cherished his time at West Ham, he improved his abilities by playing a lot of football for the great club. The English professional footballer relished every moment at their London based rivals, but he feels great returning to Arsenal this season. He believes his fitness and playing as many games as possible is the recipe to keep grafting away as well as taking every opportunity to play well.