It was all going so well for Arsenal on Wednesday.
The Gunners were on the brink of securing top spot in their Champions League group when disaster struck. Via the medium of a farcical own goal, Arsenal were robbed of victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the 77th minute.
Alex Iwobi proved the man at fault and the Nigerian was panned for his gaffe on social media. Nevertheless, eventually, the youngster has come out and apologised as well as shedding light on that costly error.
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While Arsenal never looked convincing against their French opponents, the bottom line is that they were inches away from victory.
Edinson Cavani had given PSG the lead, but Olivier Giroud equalised in first half stoppage time from the penalty spot. Then, against the run of play, the home side turned the game on its head as Marco Verratti put through his own net.
The Italian wasn’t the only man to suffer such a fate though. Lucas Moura’s header found the net late on after a hearty deflection off the head of Iwobi.
Before the ricochet, David Ospina had appeared poised for an easy save, yet the change in direction saw the ball fly past him.
For those struggling to remember the goal, it can be seen below:
Arsenal could then have easily thrown the game away. Had Cavani brought his shooting boots to north London, the haphazard Gunners could have been on the receiving end of a mauling.
Nevertheless, Wenger’s men limped off the pitch with a point to their name. It does mean however, that their chances of qualification rely on PSG somehow slipping up against Ludogorets in front of their own fans.
Therefore, it’s fair to say that Iwobi’s feeble attempt at blocking has proved rather costly for Arsenal. After all, in potentially dictating the nature of their knockout round opponents, it could have sizeable permutations for the club’s European progression.
It’s no surprise then that many fans saw the 20-year-old as a scapegoat for the disappointing draw.
In light of this, Iwobi has sought to explain himself. Speaking to Sky Sports, the Nigerian winger conceded: "I heard a shout from David Ospina, but I reacted a bit late.
"I wanted to clear it but was in two minds and ended up doing the worst thing possible. It is my mistake and I apologise. I hold my hands up. But I have to move on and be better next game.
"I always say I give 100 per cent and what happens, happens. If you play well you play well, if you play badly you play badly. But I can always say I gave my all.
"Fortunately I have had a lot of luck and most of it has gone well."
Iwobi certainly deserves credit for such honesty. Besides, his treatment has been rather harsh considering he’s a player still finding his feet at the top level.
Nevertheless, given the small margins in football, Arsenal can’t afford such errors to regularly rear their head. Given the astonishingly close nature of the Premier League title race this season too, just one goal may very well decide it.
For now though, let’s cut Iwobi some slack.
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