Pulse Opinion: Alex Iwobi will be lucky to survive at Arsenal after a poor World Cup campaign


Alex Iwobi

Now Iwobi’s future at Arsenal is left at the mercy of Emery’s decision after failing to spring up a strong showing at the World Cup.

A brilliant breakthrough season at Arsenal, trusted by Arsene Wenger, applauded by Sir Alex Ferguson, Alex Iwobi had the world at his feet.

At just the age of 20, Iwobi was already a starter at Arsenal, impressing Premier League followers with his nibble feet, precise passing and a football brain above his age.

But since that breakout year in the 2016/2017 season, Iwobi has really not pushed on, shining in little subtleties and without the consistency, his early days of brilliance is gradually fading from memory.


In fact, his rare moment of brilliance has come in the Super Eagles shirt, away from the toxic and the dark clouds of Arsenal under Wenger.

With the Super Eagles, Iwobi has been freer, happier and better than at Arsenal in recent times.

It was his goal that sealed Nigeria’s place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and in the subsequent friendly games, the Arsenal star was Super Eagles best player.

In the warm-up games just before the World Cup, the Super Eagles were better when Iwobi was in the mood.

Super Eagles brilliant showing in the second half against England at Wembley was all down to Iwobi’s passing and ball retention in the middle.

He started a move that led to his goal, chipping the ball over the English defence to Odion Ighalo and the Nigerian striker’s shot hit the post but Iwobi was already in the box to make pounce on the rebound.

He was in such good form and great mood ahead of the World Cup and great things were expected of him in Russia.

But it wasn’t meant to be so. An average first game where he was wasted on the wings despite the signs that he was yearning for a place in midfield and few minutes in the subsequent games, Iwobi has returned home after missing a huge chance in his career.


I didn’t do well against Croatia, it was a hard game for everyone. Iceland, I came on and I did my best but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how I do as long as the team does well,” Iwobi told Kwese Sports.

Super Eagles boss Gernot Rohr has his share of blame in Iwobi’s poor World Cup campaign.

Playing Iwobi on the wings was one of Rohr’s It was one of his bemusing decisions at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Against Croatia, Iwobi started from the right before switching to the left where he got more ease, cutting into his string right foot to string passes upfront.

Iwobi’s passes from the left or the middle looked like Nigeria’s most dangerous play before Rohr shockingly took him out in the 62nd minute.

Being played on the wing in Super Eagles first game in Russia ruined Iwobi’s World Cup.

Nigeria Vs Croatia

The number ten position is where I have grown up playing. When I play out wide, it is normally to sacrifice to help the team but anywhere I am told to play, I don’t mind,” Iwobi told Kwese Sports before the Super Eagles game against Argentina.

That as Iwobi’s chance to impress at the World Cup, blown, because in Super Eagles next game, he was dropped and Nigeria won 2-0.

Rohr expectedly retained his starting XI for the game against Argentina which was Nigeria’s last game of the 2018 World Cup.

Some may argue that good players perform anywhere, but everyone had their strengths and weakness and Iwobi’s strong suits shine the most from the middle.

Tiny little pieces come together to form a strong base that decides fates and destinies in life and Iwobi’s World Cup dole was sadly titled by decisions and results.

As Arsenal enter a new phase with Unai Emery, the World Cup was a great opportunity for Iwobi to show his new boss what he is capable of before meeting him.

No matter what Emery thought of him, a strong showing in Russia could have convinced Emery that he deserved a place in his plans.

Now Iwobi’s future at Arsenal is left at the mercy of Emery’s decision after failing to spring up a strong showing at the World Cup.

Jack Wilshere, a fan favourite at Arsenal and an academy graduate is already a victim of Emery’s decision, Iwobi would be lucky to survive.