Arsenal fans have every reason to be excited whenever Alex Iwobi steps on the pitch for the Gunners.
The 20-year-old Nigerian is arguably the most exciting talent to come through the club academy in years and has backed it up with some impressive displays for the senior squad.
Despite still being a very raw player with bags of pace and an imposing physique, Iwobi looks set to establish himself as a first-team regular under Arsene Wenger.
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The winger has been in sparkling form since making his Arsenal debut in a League Cup win over Sheffield Wednesday last season, though his form has waned slightly during the last few weeks.
Naturally, his recent dip has prompted criticism from those who fail to accept his young age as an excuse for inconsistency, but some have taken this to an excessively harsh level.
The Express saw fit to slap Iwobi with a five out of ten rating for his performance against Bournemouth on Sunday – even though he did not play.
How can the performance of someone be assessed without them having any opportunity to perform? We don’t know either.
The paper rubbed salt into the wound with a stinging comment on his phantom performance, which read: “He’s desperate for more opportunities but when he gets them, Iwobi doesn’t do enough.”
Iwobi could get his chance to bounce back on Wednesday evening when Arsenal host Southampton at the Emirates in the League Cup quarter-finals.
That fixture signals the beginning of the familiarly hectic December period, with the north London outfit playing six games across three competitions in just 19 days.
Wenger – along with any other manager in charge of a side competing on multiple fronts – will need to carefully rotate his starting XI to strike the right balance of quality and energy for each game.
Only time will tell how long Iwobi will need to remind the French boss he is worthy of a regular first-team role. However, it is a pretty safe bet he will be rubbing shoulders with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez soon enough.
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