Arsenal: Alex Iwobi not good enough, again

Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi just can’t seem to do anything right. He has no end product and is never in the right positions. What is wrong with the youngster?

Arsenal played woefully against a struggling West Bromwich Albion side. They should’ve walked all over them. They should’ve won without much of a struggle. They should have ended the festive period with two wins from their last two games, steaming their way back into the top-four race. But they didn’t.

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The Gunners were missing their best player. Without Mesut Ozil, they looked lost and confused. Watching the game you can clearly see the impact he makes. His fluid, elegant movement. His controlling, creative passing. His accurate and incisive distribution. And the man who replaced him, Alex Iwobi, was far from the German’s level.

I’ve said this before: I’m not a fan of Iwobi; But I will try and make this unbiased as possible: Iwobi needs a loan move away from the club. He needs proper game time; he needs to find his end product. He engineered several shooting opportunities on Sunday. He wasted them all. Throughout the season, he has been given chance after chance. He has only found the back of the net once.

I don’t think selling him would be a good option as he has potential that is worth investing in and waiting for. But loaning him out could work. Maybe loaning him to a side in a lesser league, like the Championship, could provide him with the opportunity that he requires. If he plays at a team where he is the main man, with the onus on him to produce, there would be a great attention on his end-product, the aspect that is clearly the key weakness of his game right now.

Even a Brighton or Newcastle United in the Premier League would be a good option. They are teams that rely on production from their wide attackers, both in terms of goals, assists, and chance creation, and that is something that Iwobi needs to develop and hone.

There are other things that Iwobi needs to learn, things that would be tested in a lesser team. His defending, for example, is not where it should be. He doesn’t get stuck in or work as hard as some other players. He is not as positionally disciplined as Danny Welbeck, say. He can be caught napping by an overlapping full-back.

But if he can improve in these areas, whether it be at Arsenal or out on loan, then perhaps he can re-establish himself in the squad.

Is he Premier League quality? Maybe not yet. With some training and some confidence, he could be. But not currently. He needs careful management and investment. I hope, for his sake, that Wenger can give him it.