The Alex Iwobi factor

by   |   08/09/2019  13 Comments  [Jump to last]

The signing of Alex Iwobi came out of the blue – I think most of us were surprised, some a bit shocked, and a few deflated after the high-profile pursuit of Zaha.

Over the last 6 weeks, that shock and initial disappointment of signing what was perceived to be a contingency plan, has completely disappeared. Sometimes things happen almost by accident and turn out to be masterstrokes. As a result of the unjustified (and unattainable) asking price Steve Parish placed on Zaha, we have landed a better overall player for the club.

Alex Iwobi is a team player, it is there for all to see on the pitch. He clearly enjoys being a part of our fighting unit. This player needed a home; at Arsenal, he was an outsider and never given a proper chance to establish himself. From Day One, Marco Silva knew he had a player with untapped potential, an athlete and a player with desire. He has made a primary demand to Alex: score more goals.

He was as close as you can get against Aston Villa (hitting the inside of the post), put it on a silver platter for Walcott at Villa too, popped up at Lincoln with an opportunist header at a crucial time, scored an important header against Wolves. Alex has already made an impact. He is already in tune with the manager and his methods. He has hit the ground running, which is never a sure thing.

On top of all this, he is young still; there is further improvement in him and I think he is at the right club at the right time for that to happen.

It is early days, very early days, too early… but I can’t help having a little bit of a gush over this signing. I am unreservedly positive about his future for us. From his interviews, he seems very down-to-earth and appreciative to be at our great club. This demeanour and outlook is good for the squad, for team spirit, and for our progress into the top 6 and winning one of the cups.

All-in-all, I am happy we have got Alex Iwobi instead of Wilfied Zaha.

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Reader Comments (13)

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Dave Williams
1 Posted 08/09/2019 at 17:55:54
Couldn’t agree more Tony. The way Zaha was going I had fears of being fleeced like we were with Siggy and Cottee all those years ago. Iwobi has been schooled well at Arsenal but as you say was a bit on the outside looking in. He will be a class player for us and one whom we can build the side around. A great signing.
David Pearl
2 Posted 08/09/2019 at 22:38:49
Pretty sure it was Kean putting it on a plate for Walcott but they do have the same haircut. As soon as they both came on against Villa they started to look for each other which is nice to see.

Sidibe may find things tougher than others but all of our signings, apart from Lössl should have a part to play. Then you look at Delph, of course a lot of TWs put the signings of him and Iwobi thumbs down before they even pulled on a shirt but you expect that unfortunately

The league from 3rd down could be wide open... we are full of young, fast improving players. I can’t remember if ever having it this good in a long time.

Tom Bowers
3 Posted 08/09/2019 at 23:08:19
With cautious optimism I like all the new signings and Everton certainly seem to have more goal-scoring diversity and Iwobi is looking like he can be a much better player here than at Arsenal.

The defense has looked shoddy at times over the last 3 games and that is something that I hope is being addressed by the coaches, especially with Man City coming up soon.

Fran Mitchell
4 Posted 08/09/2019 at 23:15:17
Interesting that the two most derided signings, Iwobi and Delph, now appear to be the two 'masterstrokes'.

But yeah, Iwobi looks class.

James Stewart
5 Posted 08/09/2019 at 23:34:51
While Iwobi has surprised many, myself included, I think it's a little foolish to call him “better” than Zaha. Zaha is mercurial talent who is probably the best dribbler and one of the most feared players in the league. I feel sorry for Zaha as I think he would have fit into our system extremely well.

Mouthwatering to think of Zaha, Iwobi, Kean and Richarlison in the same team

Iwobi has been excellent though.

Tony Everan
6 Posted 09/09/2019 at 10:18:59
David #2,

Yes, it was Moise who crossed it. I will claim the haircut excuse, thanks for that.

Sam Hoare
7 Posted 09/09/2019 at 10:29:12
I know many on here are disparaging of stats but Iwobi stats at Arsenal gave me alot of hope. He did not get alot of assists or goals necessarily but he made a huge amount of succesful carries forward and passes into the box. He also played alot of the 'pre-assist passes' if that makes sense. In short he did alot to link play and move them up the pitch. Something we definitely needed.

PLus he's only 23 but has 100 PL appearances for Arsenal.

I'm not at all surprised at the start he has made but I am excited to see what he can do for us as the season moves on. Will he be used mainly from the left or will he be played more centrally perhaps as part as a midfield 3.

Zaha is a great player who would have given us one of the best dribblers in the league but Iwobi is a very good player with a rounded skillset. I think Silva wanted both and that would certainly have been very interesting.

Once Kean finds his feet (and that may still take another year or more) we should have a pretty exciting and flexible attacking unit.

David Ellis
8 Posted 09/09/2019 at 11:47:38
So pleased we didn't get Zaha. Not saying that Iwobi's a better player but (1) Zaha is a lot more expensive, (2) Zaha is significantly older (so less sell on value) (3) most importantly he plays for himself which can have a poisonous effect on the whole team and (4) we were always his second choice - which would make him hard to love (like Lukaku).

Iwobi on the other hand looks an excellent signing so far.

Greg Anderson
9 Posted 09/09/2019 at 20:21:02
Agree with all above on the positive assessments. Regarding Sam's "pre-assist passes", it may be time for these to be considered an actual stat, as is the case in ice hockey, where there are commonly two "assisters" for every goal scored.

Quite often, the decisive pass which makes a goal possible is actually the one before the official assist. I am sure some of our more creative players, eg, Bernard and Siggy, would have considerably more impressive stats if these were also counted in the records, thereby more accurately reflecting their overall impact on games.

Bill Watson
10 Posted 10/09/2019 at 01:36:16
Iwobi looks an excellent signing. I'm very impressed on how he's slotted in and works for the team.

It's still early days but the signs are looking good.

Jay Harris
11 Posted 10/09/2019 at 05:28:24
More than technical ability the ability to fit into and be part of that team is key and Iwobi has this in spades. This was the right move for him and for us.

All the things we have criticised for years:-

No leaders on the pitch; too soft in MF; too leaky at the back; team spirit not what it was since Moyes left; spine of the team not good enough; no natural goalscorer.

These issues are all being addressed and I feel far more optimistic now than I have for a long time.

Derek Knox
12 Posted 10/09/2019 at 15:38:40
Tony, good article, and my feelings, almost in entirety, I was as shocked as anyone when we signed him at the eleventh hour (figure of speech).

I feared that Zaha was not only going to cost us way more than he was worth, but I doubt whether he would have performed consistently enough and been a team-player.

That may sounds like 'sour grapes' but I did express those views about him before, when it was looking like we may have been getting him.

Alex Iwobi is a welcome and much needed addition, and is fast becoming a favourite of mine, he could prove to be what we have needed for such a long time, along with Delph, Moise Kean and an ever improving team and squad.

Lee Brownlie
13 Posted 18/09/2019 at 08:15:19
James Stewart (#5):

You really did not read the article in full, or perhaps just did not 'get' that the opinion expressed was that Iwobi is a 'better overall' and 'team' player for us???

These are facts, already being borne out by the man in the Blue! Whereas the 'mercurial talent' you 'feel sorry for'...

Aww, bless his little cotton socks, yeah? ... who you also claim 'is one of the most feared players in the league' – (Why? Because no-one dare go near Zaha, knowing he'll go down??) – didn't even make it when given his big chance, did he???

Not to slag off Zaha's undoubted ability. I'd have been cheering him on, too, if he'd come to Goodison!! But we really don't need a player like that flopping over (supposedly on our behalf!).. and who clearly isn't the player he thinks he is, anyway!!!

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