Can Emery afford to experiment with Iwobi in the middle?

I’d like to tell you that I watched last nights game between Real Madrid Legends and Arsenal Legends, that I am a die-hard fan that wouldn’t have missed it for the world but in reality, it wasn’t for me and so I celebrated my Dad’s birthday in a Beefeater instead.

I don’t know what it is about these types of ‘Legends‘ games, but they just don’t hold the same appeal to me. Sky Sports started it all off with the ‘Masters five-a-side’ a few years back, in which they were just riding the crest of the ‘get old celebrities back to do gameshows’ wave that had been started with the likes of Celebrity Big Brother and I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ and so I can understand why the format was born. I just can’t really be bothered with it.

I prefer to remember the great players of my youth as they were – frozen in tune in my memory as brilliant footballers of the 80s, 90s or noughties. I don’t want the veil to be lifted to see them not move around the pitch as well, look a little rounder and greyer and ultimately, not put on as much as a spectacle.

I do get that it’s for charity and so I understand people going to the game and paying for a ticket to watch which goes into the chosen charities pot. But watching it on TV? Not quite for me I’m afraid.

I’d also question how ‘legendary’ players like Jeremie Aliadiere, Luis Boa Morte and Manuel Almunia are from their time in an Arsenal shirt. But then again it’s much harder to sell tickets from a marketing perspective when you’re announcing an Arsenal ‘historic squad player XI’. So I guess I get it.

Anyway, there was some football over the weekend but again given that it was international friendlies I didn’t bother to watch any, especially because we’re about to get a glorious glut of World Cup in just under two weeks time. By the sounds of it though Ol’ Iwobi has a grand old time betting against England. I watched the video of the goal on Twitter and he’s in a decent position to poach, he finishes well and aside from the fact that in itself that’s some form of minor miracle, it’ll be interesting to see how he’s deployed during the World Cup.

If Nigeria play him centrally and he does well it’ll certainly give Emery some food for thought. I’ve seen some suggest that he should be deployed as a number 8 at Arsenal and while I understand that as a potential experiment, the problem we have is that we already have plenty of players who can be deployed centrally.

Now, if Jack is gone and Ramsey won’t sign a new deal so the club have to move him on (and we’re all hoping for that kind of decisiveness this summer from them), perhaps there is some space opening up. But how does he get into this Arsenal team based on last seasons form? And how can he and Xhaka operate as a central pairing?

I just don’t see it right now. What I will say, however, is that I didn’t see Alex Song getting anywhere near the first team when he made his first couple of appearances. So my judgement isn’t exactly spot on with Arsenal players every time.

He’d have to make massive strides when opponents have the ball in our half though. When he was called upon last season to put in a defensive shift he looked like a little lost boy and that also added to the frustration by us lot in the stands for the player. He just doesn’t look, right now, like he has the all round game for a central position and given that we’ve already had quite a rapid decline from eating at the top table in the last two seasons, can Emery really afford to experiment with players like Iwobi?

I don’t think he can and I don’t think he will. Which is why I suspect a big chunk of the cash we have is being reserved for a midfielder. I just have that gut feel that somebody is being brought in alongside Xhaka and that Ramsey will be out of the door. I have no evidence, no intel, just my gut feel. And I think if any existing player is going to be asked to step up it’ll be Ainsley Maitland-Niles ahead of Iwobi when it comes to the central position.

Especially when you think that we’re bringing in an experienced right back to cover Hector. That stops a route into regular first team football for Maitland-Niles and so I think he’ll be asked to step up centrally in place of Wilshere.

So much speculation on what’s going to happen, eh? And isn’t it just so exciting?

I personally can’t wait. We have a slight distraction in the World Cup which will be grand, but I just want the season to start as soon as possible, which I’m taking as a great sign.

There were also a few other games on and Mesut got a fine goal against Austria. He’ll do well in Russia I fancy, but that’s because he’s world class, as we all already know. Nacho got himself some minutes and our ‘yet to be confirmed’ new boy Lichtsteiner also played in a 1-1 draw between Spain and Switzerland, but I think that’s pretty much it. There’s a few games on next weekend too, then it’s on to the real stuff, which for the first time in a while I’ve actually kind of looked forward to. Hmm, who’d have thunk it, eh?

Anyway, I’ll be off now, so you have a good one.

By | 2018-06-04T08:04:57+00:00 June 4th, 2018|Arsenal FC, Arsenal Manager, internationals, midfield|1 Comment

About the Author:

Gooner born in 1982 from Harlow, Essex, with a love for Arsenal that knows. I'm not an AKb, nor am I an 'In Arsene we Rust', but I like to think that I can tip-toe between the two, occasionally veering into both camps.

One Comment

  1. Marcus 4th June 2018 at 8:30 am - Reply

    Iwobi’s best performances came in 2016-17 when he played as a 10 in the absence of Ozil. I believe that is where Emery needs to develop him.

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