The spectacular build-up to Alex Iwobi’s goal and his finish was the main highlight of a routine 2-0 win over Brighton.
Iwobi has shown lots of potentials since making his Arsenal debut in 2016. For a youngster, he’s always had remarkable composure on the ball, he can pass, dribble, and play sharp one-twos around the opponent’s box. Perhaps his main weakness has been his relative lack of end-product, particularly goal scoring.
It’s for this reason that his goal today was a very welcome boost for him and the future of this emerging Arsenal team.
It’s now almost certain that Ozil will be leaving Arsenal. In fact, Arsenal legend Martin Keown, speaking after the Westbrom win, claimed he was benched because Wenger was finally starting to lose faith in his commitment to the cause.
Whether that is true or not, what is certain is that our very strong recent winning run – that includes the impressive Stamford Bridge draw – and general strong performances have been without Ozil.
Ozil didn’t even start today, in what the manager described as a short-term lay-off, hence it’s vitally important that players like Iwobi continue to play and improve, for the sake of both this season and life post-Ozil.
I wrote after the Chelsea game how Iwobi gives us more energy and penetrative power, attributes which Ozil is not known for. If he can add strong shooting and goal scoring to his game, I will back him to be a major candidate to replace Ozil successfully by next season.
NACHO MONREAL IS NOW A MAJOR ASSET
It’s rare for the thought of an injury to a player who’s not part of the team’s spine – main striker, play-maker, central defender, or keeper – to strike fear into the mind of the manager and fans, but that’s exactly what Monreal’s performances for the past two years and especially this season have been doing.
This guy is everything you want in a player. He is very committed and gives his all in every game. He is a well-behaved lad on and off the pitch – decent, doesn’t hug the limelight, no image problems. Most crucially, he is a very good, versatile, and intelligent player.
A player becomes a major asset, one that you can’t afford to lose at any stage of the season, when he becomes consistently influential at both ends of the pitch; defending masterfully, providing assists, and scoring goals.
Bottom line is, Monreal is now one of the first names on Wenger’s team-sheet. No matter the tactical reshuffle in defence, the man starts, simple as that!
IS AGE STARTING TO SLOW KOSCIELNY DOWN?
Laurent Koscielny plays an average of over 40 games for us every season, a decent tally, but there is always one or two spells during the season where is he is out for three or four games, due to a recurring achilles problems.
Like Kompany, who hasn’t been able to stay fit sufficiently for the past two years, Koscielny has also been an all-action defender, who also scores regularly, too. Therefore, the first thought that came to my mind when I read pre-match that he was injured was: ‘how long can Koz continue to stay fit for Arsenal at the top level?’
We are all witnesses to how Santi Cazorla has been consistently injured for the better part of the last two to three years since he passed the age of 30. Therefore, it’s not impossible that we’ll start seeing Koscielny less and less now.
Mertesacker is retiring at the end of the season, Holding is a different type of defender and he’s not yet at Koscielny’s level, while Chambers just doesn’t look good enough for Arsenal.
The implication is that, either way, Wenger and his scouts have to start looking for a very capable and experienced defender to buy for the start of next season.
WHO ELSE HATES THESE WEAKASS INTERNATIONAL BREAKS?
Just at the worst possible time, another international break comes along.
Without doubt, it’s better to go into these breaks on the back of a good win and general good form. However, the flip-side of that is that an injury to a couple of our key players could easily disrupt all the hard work and rhythm we have recently produced.
Saying that, I love the World-cup, and it comes along just once in four years, so this particular break which should conclude most of the qualifiers is actually worth it.
Fingers crossed, Iwobi, Monreal and co. will return in good health.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?
- Is Monreal now absolutely indispensable?
- Do you prefer Iwobi to keep playing ahead of Ozil?
- How about the international breaks?
Drop your views in the comments.