Arsenal: Alex Iwobi’s attitude epitomizes lack of ambition

Alex Iwobi has been fined by the club for partying the night before the important clash against Nottingham Forest. Does this show he needs a reality check or are Arsenal just not strict enough?

Alex Iwobi spent Saturday night partying with some of his friends. There is no crime in that, necessarily. But then he proceeded to put in another uninspired performance on Sunday in Arsenal’s 4-2 FA Cup third-round humiliation to Nottingham Forest. So what should be done regarding his behaviour ahead of such a crucial match?

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Iwobi has given thoroughly subpar performances in recent weeks. He doesn’t deserve to go out and party. He, as a footballer, should be ashamed of himself. I would not be disappointed to see him write an apology to the fans and tenants.

He’s old enough to know that partying all night before an important FA Cup match is not acceptable. When he has provided 15 goals and a league title then, I can accept if he wants to go out and party. But, in the meantime, Arsene Wenger needs to do more to players who act in this way.

Remember Jack Wilshere’s smoking incident in 2013? Wenger defended Wilshere, only giving him a slap on the wrist as punishment. That is not a stern enough response given his actions. Similarly, Iwobi shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this. A fine doesn’t work. It is not strong enough. Iwobi needs to miss games, as well as a fine. He can afford the fines, but he can’t afford to miss games. Additionally, the young attacker has been very poor already this season. He does get to have a free pass because of his performances. He must stand up and be counted and, on this occasion, that is not a gushing praise or reverence or respect or celebration. It is punishment.

Arsenal, as a football club, should not allow this kind of behavior from any of its players, experienced or not. They need to be more strict and unforgiving. They need to lay down the law and teach their players that football comes first. Always.

Was it Iwobi’s fault the side crashed out of the FA Cup? No. But he certainly didn’t help matters on the pitch. If Arsenal want to push for titles and trophies, then they need to have discipline. I don’t see news reports about Raheem Sterling — Sterling used to be renowned as a party animal, but under Pep Guardiola, he has refocused himself on his football — or Sergio Aguero partying it up. Instead, they’re working hard in training and winning games.

Arsenal need to change how they deal with disputes off the pitch. Maybe a different manager would’ve handled things better? Iwobi doesn’t deserve to start the next match. There needs to be consequences.