Alex Iwobi: Flying Thanks To Özil & Emery

A ten-game winning run? Years ago, that constituted chants of “We’re gonna win the league/cup” and excited chuntering about how great the team is/was/will be. Maybe that’s Arsène’s legacy? He dampened our expectations to such an extent that we no longer think we’re going to win a trophy until the yellow ribbons flutter in May.

Or more likely, we see how readily the defence is torn asunder in the opening thirty minutes. Wondering how we’ll fare against the top sides tends to dampen your trophy expectations. Then again, when you see how readily and easily United were torn apart, you wonder how we didn’t grab a top four place last season. I’ve just remembered our away form; maybe not.

I wondered recently if any top coach would make the same impact as Unai Emery on the club? Anyone whose methods are in stark contrast to those of his predecessor should see change. Wenger’s paternalistic approach is gone and a brutal reality faces the players. It took some getting used to, knowing that a place in the side was not a right anymore.

But Alex Iwobi noted the biggest change the Emery era brought: attitude.

He has just given me the confidence to express myself, to believe in my ability which I have been trying to show.

I am more confident. I feel that even if I make a mistake I am able to go again. That is the difference between me last year and this year.

Alex Iwobi on Unai Emery’s impact

There is a world of difference between the Alex Iwobi of last season and this. Not just him, but the Nigerian is the best example of the positivity the change at the top brought to the squad or most of them at least. 

In My Head, Son

Mesut Özil is finally coming to life under Emery. The summer was the perfect storm for him with the change of boss, international woes, and a back injury. The manifestation came in body language; he wasn’t happy and little wonder.

It’s to his credit that he came back relatively quickly. At his salary level, you expect that of a player. The first couple of international breaks this season were never going to be easy. If Germany performed brilliantly, it was Özil’s fault they failed in the summer. If they were successful, it was Özil’s fault; a genuine no-win situation.

Making him captain against Leicester was a surprise move from Emery. It crossed my mind that the Spaniard did it for psychological reasons. A boost for Özil’s confidence? Iwobi doesn’t think so. It was the ‘reward’ for his work on the training ground:

He gives me advice in a different way. He jokes around but always tells me I can do more. Even last night he was saying I do more – he is always one of those guys.

But is he always happy, always telling me and giving me the confidence to express myself.

Mesut will come across as laid back but he is helping everyone in a different way and helps me a lot.

Alex Iwobi on Mesut Özil

Or more succinctly, Mesut Özil, senior pro in the squad taking on that responsibility. Emery’s response was to reward that with the armband.

I don’t think for one minute that it is a permanent move although it could be. Is there a talismanic element to it? You stay with the armband until we lose or is Emery just passing it around the senior pros until Cech or Koscielny is in the side? A bit of both, I’d suggest.

Steve Who?

Granit Xhaka captained the side to victory but it wasn’t enough. Maybe the Switzerland international came back in a foul mood or his head wasn’t in the right place? The latter certainly seemed the case as he picked up a booking; Xhaka argued, niggled and generally moaned in midfield. He unleashed his inner Steve Willams before performing well at left-back.

It’s all good stuff. A positive vibe about the place. You know it will end when results go the wrong way, but I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

Liverpool looms in the background as part of another run of four consecutive home matches, with barely any breathing space between the trip to Vorskla and the North London derby.

A busy time of the season; a telling time of the season. Does Unai Emery have the answers? We shall find out.

’til Tomorrow.

36 thoughts on “Alex Iwobi: Flying Thanks To Özil & Emery

  1. We’ll see where we are as a team by early December after facing some top competition, but I have really been enjoying our run recently. We have shown some thrilling attacking flair and wondrous goals.

    Iwobi was a dribbling fiend. Torreira is so vital.

  2. Arsetralian,

    I think the main 2 reasons for me why Ramsey can’t fit that role is because 1. He lacks the pace and quickness both physically and mentally and 2. Unlike those you mentioned, he is focused on attacking and is more selfish in his play than those 2.

  3. 10 wins is 10 wins, you can only beat the teams infront of you and it could/should have been 11 given we missed something like 5 ‘sitters’ from quality players.

    Iwobi is flourishing and most important, enjoying his futbol. As a winger, I think he can be devastating because its not all power and pace but its quick feet and excellent movement, which will only get better playing with and learning from Lacazette, Aubameyang and Ozil. I know the end product is coming but I think he also offers perfect balance (Mhkitaryan does as well but he doesn’t always seem up for it until 30 mins have gone by) to the movement of Aubameyang, the all around of Lacazette and the creativity of pass from Ozil.

  4. If most of are injured are fit, against Sporting I would like to see:


    Elneny would sit infront of the back 4(that is the position that best suits him and the team because he is very good at recover and recycle) and with his short quick passing, he would get it to Guendouzi and the front 4 quickly. Leno for me should be our #1, no point in going back to Cech at this point BUT to keeo him engaged, he plays in the early cups and group stages occassionally.

  5. Hahahahhappy wednesday gents.
    Just watched That goal another 6-7 times and Adrian Clarke analysis. Despite his wrong penalty analysis, he’s pretty sharp.
    THEN ,the icing on the cake, on BT Spurt , the Moaning one , doing what he does best. Brilliant.
    So hard done by, bunkered down in all his money, having to ward off the evil spirits, not to mention better teams. Pathetic, and Beautiful.

    Any news on Left backs?

  6. C,

    Well well. No hoax.
    You seen a full line up ,or just twitter photos I’ve just seen?
    No sign of AMN, Kola, or Monreal in the photos, but there’s only 7 in shot.

  7. Tory boy and Martinez on the plane , and Mustafi and Leno on a bus??
    Must calm down. There’s shit I should be doing.
    One more sleep,

  8. Morning all, thanks for the post YW we all appreciate it very much. You guys have to tell me if i’m crazy (i am) but when i see Iwobi now i am reminded of a much chagrined gooner. Iwobi is turning into what we wanted Gervinho to be. They are dribbling fiends but Iwobi has some conviction and composure when in & around the box. I have been admiring the close control, fearlessness and his attacking. We dont many players like that so we need that dimension. He will get the ball and immediately take you on. Hazard is like this, he KNOWS he can get around you 1 on 1 and immediately goes on the attack. This extra dimension is helping us.

    Hope we can sort out some of the YIPS and really tighten things up. I just checked the league table and we’ve climbed up to 4th place, just 2 points off the top if not mistaken. 2 points! I feel more confident in this team now but hope we can start playing 90 minute games. One of the themes of this winning streak is 30 minutes of ‘what the fuck is happening’ and 60 minutes of domination.

  9. ferkov,

    My mate whose on twitter said he saw Jenks in a photo on Arsenal’s official twitter that had Jenks on the plane.

    I mean, he is basically a highly paid supporter. I mean, I do feel for his injury history but I wonder how much he regrets not moving to Palace.

  10. How a team can show a side of themselves that is so utterly hopeless and then come
    back in the second half and dominate the play must represent a form of football schizophrenia. I honestly do not know how else to describe this strange behaviour. I was near ready to turn the television off I was so completely bored with the play of Arsenal, and then they scored a lovely goal before half time. And then this other team steps out onto the field after half time. These footballers has nothing to do with the group of fools who played the first half.
    I am convinced that this team does not need a coach but rather a psychotherapist!

  11. Two Owls,

    My opinion i think missing both LBs and putting a right footer over there caused some instability. Everytime Xhaka got the ball he was hesitant to pass it over there, we looked unstable on our lefthand side in general. Licht was bombing forward far too much in my opinion. He is comfortable on the right but if you are playing out of position you just need to be solid, not spectacular right? Unai must have thought he was capable of attacking and pressing but it didnt work for me. We looked pretty comfortable when Xhaka moved over to LB, although Leicester was under our spell at that point!

  12. Thrillbo,

    Only moderately confused I believe. There’s hope. Just like for Iwobi last year.
    He was Gervinho incarnate then, flattered to decisive often, looks tricky, produced infrequently.Always derided by foe and fans sadly. Unlike Gervinho ,he had faith and Arsenal in his heart.🤔Maybe. But anyway, he didn’t have a pop at the manager and seal his departure to greener grass. Shit there too.

  13. One of the many things from the previous era that I have not missed was the insistence of trying to walk the ball into the net. It was infuriating to watch and was seldom successful. The odd time it did work resulted in some spectacular goals, but not nearly often enough. Attacking with pace is enthralling to watch and is producing far more goals. I wonder what Wenger thinks when watching them now? Or does he?

  14. Blue Yonder,

    I hope he’s proud of the players he brought through and into the club. I suspect he wonders how his teams would have faired if he’d invited them on by looking shaky playing out of the back!
    How rediculous . Sorry. He would never have moved to such a tactic. Or maybe, if he’d stayed another year….. 👅😈

  15. Them – the oppo. Like Cardiff pressing, Watford pressing, hell even Bolton might give it a go. Especially if (The)Czechs in goal.

  16. 4 hours!
    Lads ‘ll be trying to find a train map about now. Have they got a stock at the bar.
    Time out market be buzzing.
    Jealous as ferk here.

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